GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands, Thursday February 13, 2020 – The Cayman Islands is reportedly set to become the first United Kingdom (UK) overseas territory to be blacklisted by the European Union (EU), less than a month after the UK officially left the political and economic union.
International media reports have indicated that Cayman Islands will join Trinidad and Tobago, US Virgin Islands, Oman, Fiji, Vanuatu Fiji, Samoa, and Guam on the EU blacklist of tax havens – territories that are non-cooperate with the EU on tax matters. They say the recommendation was made to EU Ministers of Finance by EU Ambassadors on Wednesday.
But in a statement that same day, the Cayman Islands Government said the EU Ministers of Finance will make the final decision at a meeting to be held next Tuesday, February 18.
“As such, we have yet to receive confirmation of an EU decision. We believe that we have introduced the appropriate legislative changes to enhance our regulatory framework, in line with the EU’s requests,” the statement said.
Cayman Islands’ status was up for review this month, after the territory was placed on a “grey list” to give it time to implement legislation to address tax deficiencies.
However, according to unnamed officials quoted by the Financial Times, the territory “did not pass legislation that adequately addressed concerns about companies who claim tax advantages but do not have a sufficient economic presence on the island”.
But the statement issued by the Cayman Islands’ government on Wednesday stressed that over the past two years, it has adopted a number of fundamental legislative changes to enhance tax transparency and cooperation with the EU, “fully delivering on our commitment to strengthen our regulatory regime and addressing the concerns reflected in the EU Council conclusions of March 12, 2019”.
“The Cayman Islands Government has offered to make itself available for further dialogue or clarification with the Commission and the EU Ministers of Finance,” it added.