Today the European Union released its Tax Haven Blacklist and Cayman was not on it.
It’s something the Financial Services Ministry and Premier Hon. Alden McLaughlin has been adamantly lobbying for especially in recent weeks.
It was the proverbial dark cloud hanging over Cayman’s financial services industry, the possibility of again being placed on the European Union’s tax blacklist. But Cayman was declared cooperative Tuesday (5 December) along with 47 other countries. Financial Services Minister Hon. Tara Rivers welcomed the news.
“I am very happy to see that Cayman Islands is not on that list as it relates to being non-cooperative. We have been engaged with the EU and demonstrating our cooperation since their launched this initiative in back 2016,” Minister Rivers.
This move comes at a time when Cayman is thrust under the international microscope with last month’s leak of the Paradise Papers. Tuesday’s announcement sent a collective sigh of relief around the financial services industry here at home.
“We are at the forefront of regulatory and tax compliance and information exchange. The Cayman Islands meets or exceeds the highest global financial standards, sharing the same OECD rating as many EU member states,” a Cayman Finance statement said.
Premier McLaughlin, in a statement on the EU listing, said the majority of Cayman’s companies are not bricks and mortar, but they also are not letterbox companies.
“Rather, they are financial instruments that pool investment capital and facilitate international transactions. In addition, our transparency aids foreign tax authorities with their tax assessments,” the Premier said.
Minister Rivers said while this is a victory for Cayman it does not mean the critics, like Oxfam, will be silenced. But she says the government will not give up.
“We will try to ensure the world including those organisations develop a better understanding of the value we add to the global economy and how some of the concerns that they have do not apply at all,” she added.
Seventeen countries, including Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago and South Korea.
While Cayman has escaped the blacklist the EU has pointed out there are still some areas to be improved. Cayman is now on the EU grey list, the main area concern for the Council is tax fairness.