The ministers of Economy and Finance of the European Union (Ecofin) will meet on February 16 to deliberate whether to remove Panama from the 'black' list of tax havens in which it shares a position with 11 other countries: American Samoa, Anguilla, Barbados, Fiji Islands, Guam, Palau, Samoa, Trinidad and Tobago, Virgin Islands, Vanuatu, and Seychelles.
This was confirmed on Monday by sources from the bloc to La Prensa. As they have revealed, in principle the meeting will be face-to-face, as long as the health provisions and the evolution of the coronavirus
pandemic allow it.
In the event of any type of impediment, the meeting will be virtual and the decisions on the so-called ‘list of non-cooperative jurisdictions in tax matters’ will be made in writing.
Panama's financial legislation and its tax practice have been evaluated for a year by the Code of Conduct group, a department made up of technicians who analyze that the countries under review are in coherence with the transparency standards set.
However, the final decision is made by the collegiate body made up of all the finance ministers of the countries of the European Union.
In December 2017, the EU included Panama in the list of countries that did not adhere to fiscal transparency standards.
It was then considered that it did not comply with the issue of tax governance as it was considered to have “a harmful preferential tax regime”.
The country spent a little more than 40 days on this list, and after assuming a political commitment to introduce reforms aimed at respecting global criteria, it went to Annex II, which groups together the states in which deficiencies have been identified but which have made the commitment to modify their practices in different areas such as taxation, transparency or information exchange.
On that list, which we could call gray, Panama remained until February of last year when it entered the black list. The EU considered that regulatory and legislative deficiencies still existed in the Panamanian system. The new list will take into account the measures taken by Panama to end those rulings.