A UK campaign group's decision to brand Jersey a tax haven – just weeks ahead of international assessors arriving – does not reflect the island's track record, according to Jersey Finance.
The Fair Tax Foundation, which describes itself as a not-for-profit social enterprise which awards a 'Fair Tax Mark' accreditation to companies with responsible tax conduct, released a list of 72 countries it considers to be 'tax havens' in its annual report last week.
Included in the list were Jersey, Guernsey, the Isle of Man and Ireland.
As well as offering favourable tax treatments to non-resident individuals and businesses, the list also considers factors such as "secrecy", "harmful tax incentives", and "un-cooperative jurisdictions".
However, Jersey Finance said that the islands has been recognised for its "willingness to cooperate and consistent track record on the implementation of international tax standards", which is "not reflected in the compiling of this list".
Please note, we have re-issued our 2023 Tax Havens listing to newly include Bahrain, following advice for us to additionally consider the OECD's 'No or Only Nominal Tax Jurisdiction project'— Fair Tax Foundation (@FairTaxMark) August 3, 2023
Full updated paper and background at https://t.co/1PbLMekaaK pic.twitter.com/zJYY3V9z0N
A spokesperson from Jersey Finance explained: "Jersey as a leading international finance centre has been recognised by key global bodies including the OECD for its willingness to cooperate and consistent track record on the implementation of international tax standards.
"This commitment is not reflected in the compiling of this list, while the criteria applied to define tax havens, such as secrecy and being uncooperative, do not apply to Jersey."
2023 is a key year for the island’s finance sector, with a team from Moneyval – a European organisation which assesses compliance with international standards to counter money laundering and the financing of terrorism – due to visit next month.
Pictured: Fellow offshore finance centre Monaco recently received a "scathing" Moneyval evaluation, but Jersey's Director of Financial Crime Strategy said that the island was much better prepared to face international scrutiny.
A bad report could have dire consequences for Jersey, with the island particularly keen to avoid being added to a ‘grey list’ of jurisdictions which are judged to have inadequate laws, practices and resources to tackle financial crime.
Jersey was last assessed by Moneyval in 2015, with the island complying with 39 of the global Financial Action Task Force's 40 technical recommendations.
The current evaluation began in 2018 and although its zenith will be when the inspectors arrive in September for two-and-a-half weeks, it will continue into 2024, when the body’s report on Jersey will be published.
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