UAE not on EU ‘Uncooperative Tax Havens’ list

By Rajive Singh

ABU DHABI 27 January 2018: The UAE Ministry of Finance has welcomed the European Union’s decision to remove the UAE from its list of uncooperative tax havens, in recognition of the transparent procedures the state has been adhering to, and will continue to do so, locally and internationally.

Younis Haji Al Khoori, Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Finance, said, “The European Union’s decision reaffirms the UAE’s full and solid commitment to transparency in tax procedures, and reflects the meticulous local and international efforts made by all stakeholders in the Emirates since the beginning of 2017 to cooperate with our European counterparts and adhere to the EU’s standards and requirements regarding the exchange of tax information.”

“By virtue of our commitment to the highest standards and best international practices,” Al Khoori continued, “the UAE has made significant advancements in terms of global competitiveness. We are now the most competitive economy in the Arab world and the 17th most competitive in the world, according to the World Economic Forum’s World Competitiveness Report 2017-2018. The UAE has also risen to 21st place in the World Bank’s Doing Business 2018 report. The EU’s latest decision sets the record straight and is more in sync with the UAE’s trailblazing status,” reported Wam.

The UAE has made commendable progress towards abiding by international resolutions and standards set by EU member states. To that end, the country has successfully secured a “largely compliant” grade in the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes index, in addition to signing of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, FATCA, in order to be compliant with US laws. The UAE has also taken measures to comply with the Common Reporting Standard, CRS, and ensure a transparent flow of information with international partners, Including the EU.

The UAE has signed the Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters and the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement on Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information, as well as 113 additional agreements to avoid double taxation and eight more to facilitate the exchange information for tax purposes.

Al Khoori commented on the UAE’s joining of the Action Plan on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting, BEPS, noting that the country has notified the EU of its timeline for implementing the Plan’s minimum requirements in coordination with experts from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, OECD. All of these procedures and international agreements reflect the UAE’s advanced status and competitiveness, he explained, and complement the series of measures implemented at the local level, such as coordinating with all relevant authorities to form committees tasked with addressing BEPS.

“The Ministry of Finance is collaborating with OECD to organise a series of workshops and meetings with relevant authorities in the UAE, which include the multinational BEPS Project – an initiative launched by the OECD and the Group of 20, G20, to enhance fiscal transparency, reduce tax evasion and promote the exchange of information for tax purposes,” he added.

Al Khoori stressed that the UAE will continue to cooperate with its international partners, including the European Union, to implement international standards for combating tax evasion, avoiding double taxation and exchanging information for tax purposes.