Bahamas added to EU blacklist
Despite a last-minute effort by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest and Minister of Financial Services Brent Symonette to prevent the country’s blacklisting, The Bahamas was today included on the European Union (EU) list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes.
According to a report from the European Council, St. Kitts and Nevis and the US Virgin Islands were also added to the list.
“This is because they have failed to make commitments at a high political level in response to all of EU’s concerns,” the European Council said in a statement.
Turnquest said the EU’s reasoning is “regrettable”.
“The Bahamas government through the Ministry of Finance has consistently been engaged with the EU’s Code of Conduct Group and has responded to its requests. Prior to today’s meeting, at the level of the deputy prime minister, The Bahamas reiterated its commitment by formal letter and is on schedule to meet the December 2018 deadline set by the European Council for implementation of the areas of concern indicated,” Turnquest said.
Turnquest and Symonette travelled to Brussels ahead of today’s meeting in an effort to engage the Code of Conduct Group and the Council directly.
“The Bahamas remains committed to complying with international regulatory standards and initiatives and will continue to hold discussions with the EU to determine how we can work together to ensure a better understanding and facilitation of the process to be removed from this listing in the shortest time possible,” Turnquest added.
In an effort to avoid blacklisting, several bills were passed in Parliament last year. These included the Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information Amendment Bill, 2017, Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information Amendment Regulations, 2017 and the International Tax Cooperation Amendment Bill, 2017.
Blacklisted countries could face EU sanctions, certain controls on financial transactions between these countries and the EU, and reputational damage.