(SNO) –Prime Minister Allen Chastanet has met with stakeholders across the island to discuss concerns raised by the European Union (EU) over the island’s tax-exemption regime.
In February, the EU wrote to Chastanet saying Saint Lucia will be blacklisted by December 31, 2019 if it does not abolish a tax-preferential regime for foreign companies working here.
The regime gives foreign companies and their employees certain tax exemptions, ranging from zero to to one percent of their income, in stark contrast to local businesses which have to cough up to 30 percent.
It was described as harmful by the EU.
Presently, the island has been grey-listed by the EU and the Office of the Prime Minister said that Chastanet discussed adjustments made by his government to be removed from the list.
Deputy Comptroller Inland Revenue Department, Esther Rigobert, explained what it means to be on the grey list.
“Currently, the status of Saint Lucia is we are not blacklisted,” she stated. “We are on the EU’s grey list and that grey list is called the grey list for non-cooperative tax jurisdiction. It doesn’t mean we are in open defiance to any of the EU’s standards, it simply means there are one or two areas of concern that has been highlighted to the jurisdiction and the jurisdiction has committed to amending these concerns.”
She said that once the concerns are addressed satisfactorily, Saint Lucia will be removed from the grey list.
Earlier this month the EU blacklisted Bermuda, Dominica, Aruba and several countries around the world as non-cooperative tax jurisdictions.