France removes PH from list of uncooperative tax havens
MANILA, Philippines - France has removed the Philippines from its list of countries deemed to be uncooperative in investigating foreign aid fraud.
The French government released last Aug. 29 its updated blacklist of “non-cooperative jurisdictions” that now includes Bermuda, British Virgin Islands and Jersey, triggering withholding taxes of up to 75 percent on payments from France.
The three new territories joined seven smaller financial centers that were already on the list, namely Botswana, Brunei, Guatemala, Marshall Islands, Montserrat, Nauru, and Niue.
Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima attributed the country’s removal from the list of non-cooperative tax havens to the Aquino administration’s efforts to clamp down on corruption and tax evasion.
“We are very happy to report that the Philippines has been removed from the French government’s list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax policy, otherwise known as a blacklist of tax havens. This move is a recognition of the Aquino administration’s commitment and tangible progress in combating tax avoidance and promoting fiscal honesty,” Purisima said.
“We hope that foreign firms, and not just French ones, take this as a signal that the Philippines affords a competitive and transparent playing field for everyone to do business in,” he added.
The 10 countries are banned from using French banks to share out development funds.
France adopted its own blacklist of countries that failed to comply adequately with international taxation and fiscal standards back in February 2010.
French officials said the blacklisting was rooted on the countries’ lack of transparency on how they allocated the foreign aid given to them.
According to French officials, the strict blacklisting is aimed at putting “pressure on these countries by publicizing this list to progress toward transparency.”
This is rooted in the scandal involving France’s former budget minister Jerome Cahuzac.
Governments worldwide are attempting to combat tax evasion and boost their coffers amid the ongoing financial crisis.
This move by the French government is similar to the list drawn up by the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).