Guernsey lawmaker and former chief minister Lyndon Trott has said he will deliver a clear message that Guernsey is a reputable international financial center, with real economic activity and substance, in his forthcoming meeting with the EU.

Trott said it is vital Guernsey takes a strong stance when engaging with EU member states, not least given the EU’s ongoing “screening process” of third countries to establish a new “tax haven blacklist.”

“The EU Code of Conduct Group is currently assessing about 90 non-EU jurisdictions on tax transparency and economic substance – though, to date, their panel has not shared its assessment of jurisdictions with those they are looking at. The Code of Conduct Group should remember that only a few years ago Guernsey voluntarily submitted its tax regime for evaluation, and it was found fully compliant with EU rules. If it isn’t now, then the goalposts have been moved and no one has told us,” said Trott.

“Guernsey is not and never has been a ‘brass plate’ jurisdiction. We do not host corporate business unless it has substance in Guernsey, and by that we mean our view is the same as any expert – real people making real decisions in real time. Moreover, we have committed ourselves to the principles of the OECD’s anti-base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) plan.”

“Guernsey does not facilitate tax evasion – we have a General Anti-Avoidance Rule in place – and it does not make tax rulings for corporates. We also have a beneficial ownership register in place that facilitates timely and verifiable information exchange with other jurisdictions – and we are one of the very few jurisdictions in the world to regulate trust and corporate service providers, having done so since 2000.”

Trott concluded: “These are crucial facts about Guernsey that need to be understood by EU Member States. I aim to use my trip to Brussels to ensure that message is heard loud and clear.”

Article compliments IFC Review.