BRUSSELS, Belgium, EU- The British Overseas Territory of the Virgin Islands (VI) was recently placed on a grey list. This means that if certain steps are not taken to correct what the European Union (EU) regards as anti-tax avoidance standards the VI will be blacklisted.
The VI, through its London Office, remains active in having open dialogue with the EU on the Territory’s position.
It was on March 13, 2018 that a meeting was convened in Brussels, Belgium with the EU Commission, The Director General of Tax and Development Cooperation and Co-Chaired by the Territory’s EU/London Ambassador E. Benito Wheatley.
The summit, referred to as the Financial Services Partnership Working Party (PWP) between the EU and a number of Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs), facilitated discussions about the EU’s list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes.
The VI remains at the Table
The group included Representatives and Technical Experts from Aruba, the VI, Curacao, Cayman Islands, French Polynesia, Greenland, Montserrat, New Caledonia, Sint Maarten and Turks & Caicos Islands. The Representatives discussed the state of play of the listing process and ongoing engagement.
The participants also discussed beneficial ownership developments in the EU and OCTs and the EU’s approach to taxation in the digital economy, according to Mr Wheatley, in a brief statement to our newsroom.
Mr Wheatley, the current head of the BVI London Office, who will be replaced soon, co-chaired the meeting on behalf of the VI and currently serves as the Co-Chair of the OCT/EU Financial Services Partnership Working Party.
“It is critical that the EU and OCTs maintain dialogue on tax and other financial services issues to gain a greater understanding of any concerns,” Wheatley said.
Julian Willock speaks
Mr Julian Willock, a businessman and former Permanent Secretary with the Virgin Islands Government, who has emerged as a local non-governmental voice on the Territory’s financial services sector, said: “I commend the good works of the BVI London Office in keeping the BVI’s position on the agenda, as the double standards of the countries on the blacklist are clear for everyone to see….”
Meanwhile, Mr Wheatley was joined at the meeting by Deputy Director of the BVI London Office Dr Sandra M. Besson and Mr Stephen Johnson, a consultant retained by the VI Government.