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Oman regrets EU inclusion in tax-haven blacklist

Oman's Ministry of Finance said it is continuing efforts to meet the criteria stipulated in the agreements.

Monday, March 18, 2019

MUSCAT: Oman’s Secretariat General of Taxes regrets the Sultanate’s inclusion in the list of countries that have not yet completed the adoption of international tax standards for information and transparency exchange, according to state-news agency, Oman News Agency.

In a statement, the Ministry of Finance stated that it regrets over the decision in light of the continuous communication between the Sultanate and the EU to combat tax evasion and strengthen cooperation between the tax authorities.

Additionally, the ministry also said that it is continuing efforts to meet the criteria stipulated in the agreements and treaties to enhance cooperation with the tax authorities of other countries, which is still being completed due to the legislative cycle in the Sultanate.

In October 2017, Oman completed the membership of the international framework of Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) and acceded to the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes in October 2018, which is a requirement of the EU.

On March 12, European Union governments adopted a broadened blacklist of tax havens, adding the United Arab Emirates and British and Dutch overseas territories in a revamp that tripled the number of listed jurisdictions.

The 28-nation EU set up the blacklist in December 2017 after reported revelations of widespread tax avoidance schemes used by corporations and wealthy individuals to lower their tax bills.

The EU finance ministers agreed to add 10 countries to a blacklist of alleged tax havens, including the Sultanate and the UAE.

According to EU, blacklisted states face reputational damages and stricter controls on transactions with the EU, although no sanctions have yet been agreed to by EU states.

The UAE said it regrets the EU’s decision and that it has shared with the bloc a detailed plan of the action it is currently implementing, state news agency WAM reported.

“This inclusion was made despite the UAE’s close cooperation with the EU on this issue and ongoing efforts to fulfil all the EU’s requirements,” WAM said.

“The UAE remains firmly committed to its long-standing policy of meeting the highest international standards on taxation, including the OECD’s requirements, and will continue to update its domestic legislative framework in this regard.”

Other countries from the Middle East previously added to the commission’s list include Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Tunisia, and Yemen.