LONDON Nov 22 Luxembourg, Cyprus, the British
Virgin Islands and the Seychelles do not meet international
standards on tax transparency, a global tax forum said on
Friday, as international pressure grows on countries seen as tax
The four failed to share taxpayer information with other
countries effectively or to gather information on beneficial
ownership of corporate entities registered on their territory,
said the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of
Information for Tax Purposes.
Overseen by think thank the Organisation for Economic
Co-operation and Development (OECD), the forum said the
jurisdictions were the only ones of 50 it examined which were
non-compliant with internationally agreed best practice.
The Group of 20 leading economies, which has asked the OECD
to lead efforts on curbing international tax evasion and
avoidance, has said it wants to put pressure on to
Luxembourg, which EU sources said is under investigation by
the European Commission for tax deals it has cut with major
multinationals, said it considered the rating to be "excessively
It said in a statement that a "very limited number" of its
responses to requests for information had been considered to be
The Financial Secretary of the British Virgin Islands, Neil
Smith, said the rating did not accurately reflect the current
practices in the BVI since 2012.
"Unfortunately this classification misses the mark. It does
not give an accurate reflection of the standards of tax
information sharing found in the BVI."
Cyprus and the Seychelles government representatives either
declined to comment or were not available for comment.
Earlier this year, German politicians demanded improved
transparency in Cyprus's banking sector, long seen as having
weak controls against money laundering, as a condition for
providing bail out funds.
The OECD stopped short of adding the countries to its list
of tax havens but a country's omission from that list has in the
past largely been contingent on a willingness to share tax
Currently, only two small Pacific islands are on the list
but other countries including Ireland are regularly accused by
politicians in larger countries like the U.S. of being tax
(Additional reporting by Philipp Blenkinsop in Brussels,
editing by Elizabeth Piper)