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EU blacklists Am Samoa as a “non-cooperative tax jurisdiction”

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Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — American Samoa remains blacklisted by the European Union (EU) as a “non-cooperative tax jurisdiction,” according to a Feb 14, 2023 release by the EU Commission.

Both within the EU and at the international level, the EU is working to promote and strengthen good tax governance mechanisms, fair taxation and global tax transparency in order to tackle tax fraud, evasion and avoidance.

Given the global nature of unfair tax competition, this also means addressing external challenges to EU countries' tax bases.

The aim of the EU list of non-cooperative jurisdictions is not to name and shame countries, but to encourage positive change in their tax legislation and practices through cooperation.

The EU public documents, available on its website and reviewed by Samoa News, didn’t outline how the information about American Samoa was obtained.

Samoa News reached out yesterday morning to the Governor’s Office and a senior official with the ASG Treasury Department for comments or information on who to contact to respond to questions. But there was no immediate reply as of press time.

American Samoa, is among 17 countries cited as non-cooperative tax jurisdictions and includes Anguilla, Bahamas, British Virgin Islands, Costa Rica, Fiji, Guam, Marshall Islands, Palau, Panama, Russia, Samoa, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, US Virgin Islands, Vanuatu.

To be considered cooperative for tax purposes, jurisdictions are screened on a number of criteria, including tax transparency, fair taxation, anti-domestic tax base erosion and profit shifting (Anti-BEPS) measures.

The release says jurisdictions should exchange tax data with EU member states, should not have harmful preferential tax measures and should not facilitate offshore structures or arrangements seeking to attract profits without any real economic activity.

According to the EU, jurisdictions should commit to implementing the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development  (OECD) and anti-BEPS minimum standards, which concern harmful tax measures, treaty shopping, country-by-country reporting and dispute resolution.