Marshall Islands removed from EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions

At the European Union (EU) Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) meeting in Brussels yesterday it was announced that the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) had been removed from the EU’s list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes.

The Council also removed the UAE from the EU’s list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes. It also found Albania, Costa Rica, Mauritius, Serbia and Switzerland to be compliant with all commitments on tax cooperation.

The Marshall Islands will be moved from annex I of the conclusions to annex II. The country’s commitments regarding exchanges of information on request continue to be monitored by the Council’s code of conduct group, pending the results of the review of the OECD’s Global Forum on transparency and exchange of information.

The EU list contributes to on-going efforts to prevent tax avoidance and promote good governance principles such as tax transparency, fair taxation or international standards against tax base erosion and profit shifting.

The list was established in December 2017 and is contained in annex I of the conclusions adopted by the Council. The second annex includes jurisdictions that have undertaken sufficient commitments to reform their tax policies and whose reforms are being monitored by the Council’s code of conduct group on business taxation.

Nine jurisdictions remain on the list of non-cooperative jurisdictions. The are: American Samoa, Belize, Fiji, Guam, Oman, Samoa, Trinidad & Tobago, the US Virgin Islands and Vanuatu.

The ECOFIN’s decision was the culmination of multiple months of constructive dialogue between the RMI and representatives from the EU Code of Conduct Group and EC, the Marshall Islands said.

Marshall Islands Minister of Finance Brenson S Wase said that “the Marshall Islands was aware in July that the amendments to the RMI Economic Substance Regulations had been positively met by the EU,” adding that “the amended regulations have been recognized, through this removal, as fulfilling the RMI’s commitments with respect to the EU’s tax policies”.

The Marshall Islands said that it would maintain its engagement with the EU and other international institutions to ensure that, within its specific context and scale as a small island nation, international standards of corporate governance and taxation continue to be met.

“We remain firmly committed to further cooperation and constructive dialogue with our EU partners,” said James Myazoe, RMI Deputy Registrar of Corporations.