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The EU removes Guernsey from its ‘blacklist’

The EU Commission has confirmed that Guernsey is no longer on its tax ‘blacklist’. The news was greeted with relief by government and industry following the shock announcement that Guernsey was included in a list of 30 ‘non-cooperative’ jurisdictions issued on 17 June 2015.

The list, which consolidated EU Member national tax ‘blacklists’, included jurisdictions on 10 or more Member States but was based on out of date information and erroneously included Guernsey.

Guernsey’s response to its inclusion was rapid and robust with Chief Minister Deputy Jonathan Le Tocq writing to the EU Commissioner to express its disappointment and surprise given that Guernsey has led a number of EU Members States with its commitment to the adoption of the Common Reporting Standards on automatic exchange of information. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) had also expressed concern over this list and the basis and authority on which it had been compiled in a letter sent to the members of the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes (Global Forum) at the end of June.

Talks in Brussels at the end of July culminated with confirmation that the list should not be used as a ‘blacklist’ by any organisation and to reflect this, the title had been changed to ‘Tax good governance in the world as seen by EU countries’ list. Brussels also confirmed that Guernsey is viewed by the Commission as co-operative and consequently had been removed from the list.

Mark Huntley, Managing Director of Heritage International Fund Managers said: “The inclusion of Guernsey on the EU ‘blacklist’ was an unfortunate development which caused some disconcert among fund promoters and investors. However, Guernsey’s government response was swift and its lobbying efforts succeeded in the prompt removal of the Island from the list.”

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