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Barbados Today – Barbados has scored an apparent breakthrough in its fight to get the European Commission to remove the island from its blacklist of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions, according to Minister of International Business Ronald Toppin.
He told Starcom Network radio on Wednesday that Barbados’ application to the Paris-based club of rich countries, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), for a “supplementary review” of the measure has been approved.
He explained: “This means and was stated by them in writing to us, that once the OECD agrees to grant us that supplementary review, then we are removed from their blacklist, this is, the blacklist of the European Union and placed on the grey list pending the outcome of that Supplementary Review.
“So this means that Barbados now will have to removed from the European Union’s blacklist and that meeting of the European Union is scheduled to take place in February,” Toppin said.
The Barbados International Business Association immediately welcomed the news, commending the Ministry of International Business for persistently pursuing the matter.
BIBA’s Executive Director Carmel Haynes told Barbados TODAY: “This should see our ranking by the OECD Global forum improve from being partially compliant. More importantly, this will now pave the way for our removal by the European Commission from its blacklist of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions.
“While this blacklisting in October has been cause for concern among those in the global business sector, BIBA was reassured by the Ministry of International Business that this was more a timing issue rather than a reflection of any major breaches on our part since we were last removed from the EU tax blacklist in May 2019. We, therefore, commend the ministry for its diligent and focused efforts working closely with the OECD and other relevant agencies to get us to this point.”
The Mia Mottley administration has strongly argued that the EU treatment meted out to Barbados and Anguilla who were both placed on the punitive list back in October was unjust and disproportionate
Government charged that it was being penalized for being ‘Partially Compliant’ in only three of the ten ‘essential elements’ of the OECD’s standard.
These three areas of partial compliance include availability of ownership and identity information as well as accounting information, and the quality and timeliness of its responses to requests from overseas tax authorities for tax information on Barbados resident taxpayers. It is important to note that the Global Forum rated Barbados as compliant in the remaining seven of its essential elements.
- Government maintained that since assuming office it has amended over 14 pieces of legislation;
- ensured that requests for Exchange of Information from other jurisdictions are appropriately answered in accordance with the law;
- conducted audits and reviews of the Corporate and Trust Service Providers; and
- has ensured that up to date and relevant beneficial ownership information is properly maintained and accessible by the authorities.
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Mottley told the new Ambassador of the European Union here, Malgorzata Wasilewska, that the blacklisting was a major headache for the country and that she was prepared to meet high-level officials in Europe to settle the matter.