Premier Dr D Orlando Smith said he “cannot say” whether the legislative changes that the government will adopt to remain off the European Union’s (EU) blacklist of tax havens will harm the local financial services industry, which is the BVI’s bread-and-butter.
“I will say that government and the industry are, of course, working together on this matter and are considering all the steps that are necessary … We are doing what we have to do – what we’ve always been doing – to protect the industry,” Dr Smith assured during a press conference this week.
The BVI, in the meantime, has until December 2018 to implement these ‘legislative changes’ but Premier Smith has declined to give details of what such changes will entail.
He, however, said he hopes the changes will be enough to not only keep the BVI off the blacklist but also bump the territory from the EU’s provisional ‘grey list’, where it currently sits.
What is the tax haven blacklist?
The blacklist was created to categorise jurisdictions who ‘do not respect the EU’s tax transparency standards’.
The EU created the blacklist in December 2017; some three months after hurricanes Irma and Maria ravaged the BVI.
While the EU classifies the BVI as a territory that is non-compliant to its standards, it put the territory on a so-called ‘grey list’ and gave it a year to become compliant.
The BVI was given a one-year grace period because of the onslaught of the hurricanes. But, this grace period expires in three months and if the BVI doesn’t satisfy the EU, it could then be blacklisted and subjected to diplomatic sanctions.
Below is the EU’s blacklisted and grey-listed countries:
The Bahamas, American Samoa, Guam, Namibia, Palau, Samoa, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Trinidad and Tobago, and the US Virgin Islands.
The British Virgin Islands, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahrain, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Macao, the Marshall Islands, Panama, Saint Lucia, South Korea, Tunisia, and the United Arab Emirates.
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