With now thirteen states or territories, the French list of tax havens, published on Tuesday, has been significantly revised since the last update in 2016. Panama remains on the list, the Bahamas and the British Virgin Islands return to it.

The Bahamas and the British Virgin Islands are singled out by France for their lack of transparency.

Announced by the Minister of Action and Public Accounts, Gérald Darmanin, at the beginning of December, the new French list of tax havens has just been made public. By a decree published on Tuesday, France updated its blacklist of non-cooperative states and territories in tax matters. Now with thirteen states or territories (Anguilla, Bahamas, Fiji, Guam, US Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, Oman, Panama, American Samoa, Samoa, Seychelles, Trinidad and Tobago and Vanuatu ), the list has changed significantly since the last update in 2016.

Six of the seven states which were previously on the list have been withdrawn (Botswana, Brunei, Guatemala, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue), most often because they have ratified an administrative assistance convention in tax matters with France. by which they agree to exchange tax information.

Panama kept on list

Only Panama remains on the list, despite the existence of a cooperation agreement. The country had returned to the ranks of tax havens a few days after the “Panama Papers” scandal which had highlighted the opacity of its financial industry. Its new government, elected in spring 2019, is committed to greater transparency. A commitment which should result in the passage of two legislative texts to improve accounting information and create a register of beneficial owners.

In the meantime, Bercy considers that the information transmitted by Panama is still insufficient. “Despite the dialogue initiated, the state of tax cooperation with Panama has not yet progressed sufficiently to justify a withdrawal of this state from the French list”, we say to Bercy.

Addition of states from the European list

Among the newcomers are the states pinned on the European list of tax havens. This addition results from a provision of the 2018 fraud law, according to which France automatically integrates the States on the European Union list.

This is how Fiji, Guam, the American Virgin Islands, Oman, Samoa, Trinidad and Tobago and Vanuatu are entering or returning to the French list, some because they facilitate the creation of a structure ” offshore ”, others because they always propose measures to reduce the tax base of taxpayers or facilitate the transfer of profits.

Commitment not respected

Other states are making their entry, even without being pinned down by Brussels. France considers that they are not respecting their commitments regarding the exchange of information. This sanction affects Anguilla, the Bahamas, the British Virgin Islands and the Seychelles. “Regarding the British Virgin Islands, France still has 230 requests for information in connection with the“ Panama Papers ”for an average response time of 400 days. With the Bahamas, there are 50 pending requests ”, we tell Bercy.

Sometimes pointed out as ineffective in the face of tax evasion, the lists of tax havens can have tax consequences for the states concerned, not to mention the diplomatic implications.

Registration on the French list leads, for example, to increased withholding taxes (75%) on financial flows (interest, dividends, capital gains, etc.) from France to these non-cooperative States. , exclusion from the mother-daughter scheme or even stronger reporting obligations.