The UAE government said it's “surprised and disappointed” to be included on a European Union list of non-compliant tax jurisdictions, according to Undersecretary of Finance Yousef Haji Al-Khouri.
On Tuesday, the EU adopted a blacklist of 17 non-EU tax havens, including the UAE and Bahrain, following a year of negotiations, singling out countries that EU officials accuse of facilitating the creating of shell companies and other structures designed to aid tax avoidance.
A further 47 countries are on a “grey list”, according to sources quoted by the AFP.
In a statement, Al-Khouri said, “The UAE has worked to meet the European Union’s requirements in terms of exchanging tax-related information.
“We have committed to a reform process which will be finalised by October 2018, and we are absolutely confident this will ensure the UAE is swiftly removed from the list.
“We look forward to moving into the next phase of cooperation with our EU partners on the important issue of tax regulation."
Al-Khouri noted that the EU has acknowledged that the UAE has addressed each issue that has been raised, and that the UAE has drafted, legislated significant reforms to ensure that they remain in “lock-step” with partner countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and international best practice.
In the UAE’s case, the only remaining issue is the implementation of the BEPS (base erosion and profit shifting) minimum standard, which the UAE has committed to finalising in October 2018 and ratifying in March of the following year, giving the UAE’s federal structure the time necessary to ratify the measure across all seven emirates.
The UAE government has said it is confident it will be recognised as being an internationally compliant partner at the EU’s next review.
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