Costa Rica still on blacklist of tax havens

February 12, 2010

Costa Rica remains on the list of tax havens published by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), according to documents seen by the wire service AFP on Monday.

The Central American country of 4.5 million people had signed an agreement in July saying it would take steps to ensure free exchange of financial information. But while Costa Rican officials made strides toward complying with the OECD, the country has failed to pass legislation in congress.

In December, Finance Minister Jenny Philips said, “We are continuing trying to comply with the OECD, but we can´t commit to legislators passing (appropriate legislation.).”

She said her ministry is looking to reduce the time it takes for judges to review and authorize the release of financial information of suspected tax evaders, but that she needs more time.

“The French government has taken a very tough, very strong position,” Philips said at the December press conference. “But at the moment France decides to pressure, other countries have to unite and say, ‘Wait a minute.´”

According to various news sources, the French government will begin imposing fines of as much as 50 percent – up from 33 percent – on dividends and interest fees paid by French firms to people or other firms domiciled in tax havens.

As of press time, the OECD had yet to make the updated tax haven list public.

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