Belize Removed from EU Blacklist on International Tax Good Governance

Belize Removed from EU Blacklist on International Tax Good Governance

Belize has been removed from the blacklist when it comes to countries that are non-cooperative regarding international tax good governance.  Four months ago, the European Union published a report, designating Belize to the blacklist.  This was despite the measures taken by the country, and the enacted legislations towards compliance.  Upon the release of the EU Report, Belize issued a public release rejecting the blacklisting.  Back in October last year, Minister of Constitutional and Political Reform, Henry Usher, told the media that it was a case where the goalpost keeps moving.  

Henry Charles Usher, Minister of Constitutional and Political Reform, and Religious Affairs: “I think what that really indicates is a situation where you have these first world countries continuing to change the goal posts, continuing to move the goal post for jurisdictions like Belize, jurisdictions in the Caribbean when it comes to these issues. We have, this government, has passed a huge amount of legislation dealing with transparency in taxes but for whatever reason the EU decided to go back to a date when those legislations had not been passed. They did not give Belize an opportunity to update them on what legislation has been passed and you all know, you’ve covered it in the House, since April there has been a number of legislation, a package of legislation dealing with tax issues, dealing with all the different institutions that deal with taxes as well. But instead of looking at what has been done they decided to go back to an arbitrary date before the legislations were passed and to use that as their baseline. What Belize will do of course is apply for review but I can’t be done until April of 2024 but we do believe in April 2024 when that application for review is made that Belize will then be removed from this list.”

In December last year, Belize appealed the EU’s decision.  Fast-forward to today, and the European Union’s Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) has approved Belize’s request for a supplementary review.  The news has been welcomed by the Minister of State for Finance, Economic Development, and Investment, Christopher Coye, who says the decision is a demonstration of the EU’s recognition of Belize’s commitment to transparency of its tax and regulatory framework, as well as the country’s works at establishing an effective regime for the exchange of information on tax matters.  Prime Minister John Briceno also welcomed the review, and noted that the EU’s decision to conduct the supplementary review is a testament to the hard work of the Ministry of Finance, and the Financial Services Commission. 

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