Momentum builds for OECD tax reforms

The news will be slightly overshadowed with an announcement from the island of Vanuatu in the South Pacific that it has refused to cooperate.

The news comes just days after the Channel Islands of Guernsey and Jersey also committed themselves to improving the transparency of their tax and regulatory systems and to establishing effective exchange of information with OECD countries by 31 December 2005.

As a result, they will now all be excluded from an OECD blacklist, which in June 2000 named 35 jurisdictions as ‘tax havens’. Those on the blacklist have been threatened with sanctions and having favourable tax treaties scrapped.

In a statement, the OECD said it ‘looks forward to working with Grenada & St. Vincent and the Grenadines and encourages other jurisdictions to come forward with similar commitments’.

But the OECD will be disappointed to note that the South Pacific island of Vanuatu has declined to commit to the initiative, after a cabinet decision last week.

In an official release, the tiny state based its decision on the fact that ‘signficant OECD members – Switzerland, Luxembourg, Belgium and Portugal – had not committed to the standards being demanded of non-OECD states’.

Despite this, Vanuatu said it had increased ‘regulatory supervision’ of its offshore banks and entities and was committed against money laundering.

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