PRESS RELEASE — Saint Lucia was officially removed from the European Union (EU) list of non-cooperative jurisdictions, for tax purposes on February 15th, 2021.
Saint Lucia first appeared in Annex I (the blacklist) in December 2017 but was subsequently placed in Annex II (the grey-list) in March 2018, after committing to address the deficiencies highlighted by the European Union Code of Conduct Group (EU-CoCG), as they relate to the international business sector.
Over the past few years, the Government has worked diligently to meet the requirements of the EU-CoCG and engaged in discussions with various stakeholders and international bodies. This process was extremely onerous, however the authorities and technocrats maintained the momentum and worked diligently to ensure that the goal of being delisted by the EU was achieved.
Over the past three (3) years, Saint Lucia engaged in a number of response interventions including: i) the enactment of new legislation, ii) the amendment of existing legislation and iii) the streamlining of procedures and processes, in order to comply with the requirements of the EU. It must be stressed that all the changes made are in keeping with the international tax standards set by the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the Global Forum on Transparency and the Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes (Global Forum). In fact, Saint Lucia needed to remain compliant with the requirements of the OECD and the Global Forum in order to gain favourable consideration by the EU.
In meeting the new standards set, Saint Lucia has reset its International Financial Services Sector framework by moving to a territorial tax system where all companies incorporated in Saint Lucia can now operate both domestically and internationally and where foreign sourced income earned by Saint Lucian companies is not liable to taxation provided the companies meet approved economic substance requirements.
The Government of Saint Lucia extends its sincere appreciation to the negotiating team led by the Ministry of Finance, as well as the key stakeholder groups. Special mention must be made of the Registered Agents and Trustees and the offshore entities, who were directly impacted by the legislative changes made, for their commitment in working towards the common goal. We look forward to the continued collaboration and cooperation of these stakeholders in the coming years.
“I am proud of the team who have worked so hard to get to this point and we will continue the dialogue on this matter and the impact it has on our islands,” said Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Honourable Allen Chastanet. “We still want to see reforms which take into account our unique circumstances but this is a step in the right direction.”
The Government of Saint Lucia reaffirms Saint Lucia’s commitment to meeting international tax standards as they relate to tax transparency, the exchange of information, countering tax evasion and avoidance, and combatting base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) activities.