Luxembourg, Cyprus and Seychelles removed from OECD’s list of uncooperative tax havens


On 30 October 2015, the OECD’s Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes (‘Global Forum’) announced that Cyprus, Luxembourg and the Seychelles are no longer deemed to be non-compliant with the OECD Exchange of Information standard and assigned a new overall rating of ‘Largely Compliant’, following significant changes to their legal frameworks or practices.

In November 2013, the OECD published its initial Peer Review results. Luxembourg, Cyprus, the British Virgin Islands and the Seychelles were deemed to fail to meet the OECD Exchange of Information standard.

In Belgium, companies subject to Belgian corporate income tax (residents or non-residents) have to report direct or indirect payments exceeding EUR 100,000 to recipients established in ‘tax havens’. A tax haven country is defined – amongst others – as a State that, for the whole taxable period during which the payment is made, is considered by the OECD Global Forum as a State that has not substantially or effectively applied the OECD exchange of information standard. For more information on the technical tax analysis surrounding this new reporting obligation, see the post of 8 September 2015 by our Corporate Tax Partner Philippe Vanclooster.

In principle, this would entail that it would no longer be required to report payments to Cyprus, Luxembourg and the Seychelles in the Belgian corporate income tax return as from assessment year 2016 (for companies with a financial year aligned with the calendar year). However, no statement has yet been made by the Belgian Minister of Finance in this respect. We are closely following this up.