UK is ‘biggest tax haven in EU,’ says global tax expert

(RT) – British Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies make up almost 25 percent of the world’s tax havens blacklisted by the European Commission.

The Commission published
its blacklist on Wednesday as part of its Action Plan for Fair
and Efficient Corporate Taxation.

The Action Plan sets out a series of policies to “tackle tax
avoidance, secure sustainable revenues and strengthen the Single
Market for businesses.”

It also outlines key strategies for ensuring “fair but growth
friendly taxation”
and tackling financial secrecy commonly
associated with tax dodging.

Tax havens featured on the EC’s blacklist include Anguilla,
Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands,
Guernsey, Montserrat and the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Each is inextricably linked to Europe’s financial hub, the City
of London.

Global tax expert Richard Murphy said the EC’s blacklist shows
the UK and its territories are “by far the biggest tax haven
in the EU.”

Murphy, a vocal campaigner for tax justice, said each of the
territories referenced on the Commission’s blacklist are
“branch offices of the City of London.” He argued they
are undeniably linked to the London-based financial mecca.

Although some commentators say Britain’s Overseas Territories and
Crown Dependencies are autonomous of the UK, Murphy dismissed
this viewpoint as “nonsense.”

“They are British territories with constitutions that are
Statutory Instruments of Parliament here in UK,”
he wrote in
his Tax Research blog.

This fact, Murphy said, makes them “as independent as

Following the launch of the EC’s Action Plan on Wednesday, Vice
Present Valdis Dombrovskis described it as an initiative for
“fairer and more growth-friendly taxation in the EU.”

“It rests on the core principle that all companies — big or
small, local or global — must pay a fair share of tax where real
economic activity is taking place and where their profits are
actually made,”
he said.

Core policies tabled in the plan include a plot to relaunch the
Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base (CCTB) and a framework to
put “effective taxation” in place where “profits are

The Commission described its blacklist, which heavily features
overseas UK territories, as the first pan-EU list of
“third-country non-cooperative tax jurisdictions.” It
said it will put in place a “public consultation” to
determine whether firms operating in the EU should be compelled
to publicly declare tax information.

Writing in his Tax Research blog on Wednesday, Murphy expressed
doubt over the relaunch of the CCTB. Previously rejected by a
group of EU member states, he predicted the initiative will prove

Murphy said the CCTB has merit in principle, but would not be
consolidated in practice. He said the EC’s decision to
temporarily drop the consolidation dimension of the project
“makes the whole effort meaningless.”

This piece was reprinted by RINF Alternative News with permission or license.