France draws up tax blacklist, to apply sanctions

February 16, 2010

PARIS, Feb 16 (Reuters) – France has drawn up a list of 18 countries accused of failing to cooperate on tax issues, and will slap punitive taxes on certain financial transactions involving them, an official document showed on Tuesday.

The document, obtained by Reuters, was signed by Economy Minister Christine Lagarde and Budget Minister Eric Woerth and lists Central American and Asian countries as well as tiny Caribbean and Pacific island nations.

Dated Feb. 12, it does not mention any European countries.

Under a French law passed late last year, a 50 percent tax will be slapped on dividends, interest, royalties and service fees paid by a person based in France to a beneficiary based in one of the listed countries. This will be applied as of March 1. The previous tax was 15 percent.

A 50 percent tax will also be applied to gains from real estate and securities transactions carried out by persons or companies based in the listed places, according to the law.

The full French list includes: Anguilla, Belize, Brunei, Costa Rica, Dominica, Grenada, Guatemala, Cook Islands, Marshall Islands, Liberia, Montserrat, Nauru, Niue, Panama, Philippines, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and Grenadines.

The document will be reviewed on Jan. 1, 2011, taking into consideration any progress in the listed countries’ compliance with global tax rules.

Leaders of the Group of 20 economic powers launched a campaign last year to name and shame countries that failed to improve tax standards and transparency.

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) last year published a “grey list” of countries accused of not fully implementing internationally agreed tax standards. (Reporting by Jean-Baptiste Vey; writing by Sophie Hardach; editing by Patrick Graham)

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