Tax Haven Blacklist Repealed, but Wait…

That’s not the end of the story. On May 30th Argentina repealed its 13-year old blacklist of uncooperative jurisdictions which included almost half of the current membership of the United Nations.

The soon to be announced replacement is not colour-coded and adopts a different approach entirely. Instead of identifying those countries with whom the Argentine Revenue Service (ARS) is not able to exchange tax information, this will be a roll call of countries deemed cooperative for tax information exchange purposes because they are willing to share taxpayer information.

This positive recognition is reserved for countries that have entered into treaty relations with Argentina to apply the new OECD standard on tax information exchange either through a tax information exchange agreement (TIEA), a double taxation agreement; or the OECD Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters.

There is however one important caveat, which perhaps explains why the list has not yet been published. To make the cut, the ARS has to determine which of the countries willing to exchange tax information, on paper, actually exchange the information they have promised to share; and those actual exchanges must be effective in practice.

This means that some of the 88 countries previously black-listed as tax havens, but now signatories to agreements which reflect the OECD standard on information exchange, may still be excluded, if the ARS has any concerns about a country using bank, stock exchange or other types of secrecy to frustrate effective information sharing.

Depending on the experience of the ARS with information exchange in practice this new list may be a very short one indeed. Regardless of the final number however, those who do not make the cut , will still inhabit another list, which despite clear legislative intent to bury the old ‘blacklist’ will certainly be viewed as a  resurrected blacklist ‘by default’.


2 thoughts on “Tax Haven Blacklist Repealed, but Wait…

  1. Well done Fran. The good news is that on Dec. 19, 2012, Panama filed a WTO action against Argentina relating to its discriminatory treatment of Panama, which is on the blacklist. In the last two weeks Argentina is trying to block action on the dispute. The more that countries challenge blacklists, the more accountable countries such as Argentina will become for their actions.


    1. Thanks for this Bruce! This is excellent news. I’ve always maintained that tax and trade are the two sides of the same coin. Kudos to Panama for taking this giant leap of faith in the multilateral system.


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