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Seychelles off EU’s black list, on to watch list |21 February 2024

By Patsy Canaya


Seychelles is no longer on the European Union list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes. The country has now been removed from the black list which is Annex I and placed on the watch list, which is Annex II.

Seychelles’ name along with three other countries, namely Bahamas, Belize and Turks and Caicos Islands were removed from the black list yesterday.

The country was added to the European Union (EU) list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes in October 2023, after a negative assessment from the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) Global Forum with regard to exchange of information on request.

The announcement led to great discontent with Secretary of State for finance, Patrick Payet describing it as “sad” and stating that Seychelles was penalised twice for something it had tried its best to rectify since 2020. 

“It is regrettable that the European Union has used a weakness dating back to 2018 to continuously penalise Seychelles, despite having put in place all the necessary structures to ensure we are in conformity with transparency and exchange of information on taxes,” stated Mr Payet in October last year when reacting to Seychelles’ being blacklisted.

He also pointed out the economic impact it could have on the island nation, especially to foreign direct investment from EU countries or companies seeking to invest.

The Seychelles government denounced EU’s stance and urged it to review its listing procedures “to provide greater transparency, consistency and equitable treatment, such that any country, small, big or well-connected is justly considered.”  

According to the council, following changes to the applicable rules, the Global Forum has granted Seychelles a supplementary review, which will be done in the near future. Pending this outcome, Seychelles has been included in the relevant section of Annex II, instead of Annex I reserved for non-cooperative tax jurisdictions.

This means the council recognises ongoing constructive work in the field of taxation and takes into account the country’s commitment to reform its legislation to adhere to agreed tax good governance standards in line with EU’s requirement.

It should be noted that 12 jurisdictions are still blacklisted.

The EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes was established in December 2017.

It is part of the EU’s external strategy on taxation and aims to contribute to ongoing efforts to promote tax good governance worldwide.
Jurisdictions are assessed on the basis of a set of criteria laid down by the council. These criteria cover tax transparency, fair taxation and implementation of international standards designed to prevent tax base erosion and profit shifting.

Today, the Ministry of Finance, National Planning and Trade will give its reaction to the latest announcement.

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