Fiji still on blacklist

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FILE PHOTO: European Union flags fly outside the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium. REUTERS/Yves Herman/File Photo

Fiji is still on the European Union’s tax blacklist despite significant efforts made recently by the tax authority to get off it. In a decision on February 20th, the EU stated it regretted some jurisdictions, including Fiji, remained non-cooperative for tax purposes.

“Fiji has not signed and ratified the OECD (The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance as amended,” said the EU in a statement.

“(Fiji) has harmful preferential tax regimes (exporting companies, ICT incentive, concessionary rate of tax for regional or global headquarters), has not become a member of the Inclusive Framework nor implemented the BEPS (base erosion and profit shifting) standards, and has not resolved these issues yet.”

Fiji was put on the EU’s list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes in 2019 following the introduction by the last government of a tax incentive package which the EU Code of Conduct Group deemed as not in line with EU tax standards.

Early last year, the Fiscal Review Committee in its report urged Fiji Revenue and Customs Service (FRCS), the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to work together to get Fiji removed from the list.

Last November, Fiji officially joined the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes as its 169th member, which FRCS said was “a pivotal measure in addressing concerns related to the EU blacklisting”.

“This move is aligned with the key requirement of the EU Code of Conduct, which mandates participation in the Global Forum and the establishment of cross-border information-sharing channels,” said FRCS acting chief executive officer Malakai Naiyaga.

“The team at FRCS is dedicated to removing Fiji from the EU blacklist.”

“Having progressed through various crucial EU requirements, we have a well-defined plan to address the other outstanding obligations.

Joining the forum will also enhance our international collaboration against tax evasion and avoidance.

With government backing, we have successfully achieved this specific milestone,” Mr Naiyaga said.

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