On 14 March Guernsey and Jersey representatives attended a hearing of the European Parliament’s TAXE 2 Committee, following an invitation from the Chair of the Committee. The Committee has a remit to examine tax rulings, aggressive tax planning and information exchange in EU Member States and in relations between the EU and jurisdictions like Guernsey and Jersey that are outside the EU. Guernsey and Jersey have actively engaged with the European Parliament. The Chief Ministers met with the Chair of the TAXE 1 Committee in May 2015 and both Guernsey and Jersey provided written submissions to the TAXE 1 Committee later that same month.
Guernsey was represented at the hearing on 14 March by Rob Gray, Director of International Tax Policy. Jersey was represented by the Chief Minister’s Adviser on International Affairs, Colin Powell. The exchange of views covered recent developments, both at EU and OECD levels, in relation to tax avoidance, exchange of information and base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS).
The opening statements to the Committee by Mr Gray and Mr Powell have been published on the TAXE 2 website and are available below, together with the joint letter of 22 February from the Chief Ministers of Guernsey and Jersey to the Chair of the TAXE 2 Committee accepting the invitation to the hearing. The letter included as an annex further background on the Channel Islands’ cooperation with the EU and its Member States in the field of taxation.
Speaking before the hearing, the Chief Minister of Guernsey, Deputy Jonathan Le Tocq, commented:
“At the start of this year EU Tax Commissioner Pierre Moscovici described Guernsey as an important partner of the EU in fighting tax evasion, tax fraud and abusive tax avoidance. That view was based on the Commissioner having a fuller understanding of our actions through the meetings we have had with him.
For that reason it is important for us to take this opportunity to continue to meet with the TAXE Committee. It will help us in seeking to ensure that they too have as full an understanding as possible about how Guernsey continues to meet the highest global standards on tax transparency and information exchange, demonstrating what the EU Commission calls good tax governance.”
The Chief Minister of Jersey, Senator Ian Gorst, similarly commented:
“It is important for us to comply with all relevant international standards and to pursue a good neighbour policy in our relationship with the EU. Commissioner Moscovici has described Jersey and Guernsey as important partners of the EU through our continued active engagement in international initiatives for fighting tax evasion, fraud and abusive tax avoidance.
We hope the Commissioner’s assessment of the Channel Islands as cooperative jurisdictions is shared by Members of the Taxe 2 Committee. We believe this exchange of views between Mr Powell, his Guernsey counterpart and the Committee will contribute to the growing understanding in the EU of our good governance standards in tax matters.”