EU denies targeting New Zealand

  • 03/08/2016
Flag of EU in the wind

Reports that New Zealand is being investigated as a tax haven are incorrect and misleading, the European Union says.

The EU says it is assessing the tax policies of all non-EU countries.

"This assessment is not specific to New Zealand, nor has New Zealand been singled out in any way in this assessment," the EU's delegation to New Zealand said in a statement on Wednesday.

"Media reports that the EU is targeting New Zealand for investigation as a tax haven are incorrect and misleading."

Following a report this week that New Zealand's tax laws were coming under EU scrutiny, Revenue Minister Michael Woodhouse said the Government hadn't been told about any investigation.

He said even if there was one, he was sure it would come to the same conclusion as the OECD - that New Zealand fully complied with its standards.

The EU says it decided to hold the assessment in January - three months before the Panama Papers revelations.

The intention is to create a list of non-EU states that don't respect good governance when it comes to tax policy.

Eventually, and after discussions with the worst offenders, it will produce a blacklist.

The Panama Papers revealed details of hundreds of thousands of foreign trusts - legal entities which can be used to hide wealth from tax authorities or launder money.

New Zealand was named numerous times.

The Government appointed tax expert John Shewan to review the laws around foreign trusts.

He concluded New Zealand wasn't a tax haven but proposed a raft of changes to tighten the rules.

The Government has accepted all the recommendations.