Isaac Davison is a NZ Herald political reporter.

European Union: Investigation into NZ tax haven status 'incorrect and misleading'

Revenue Minister Michael Woodhouse said he was aware the European Parliament had set up a committee to look into matters in relation to the Panama Papers. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Revenue Minister Michael Woodhouse said he was aware the European Parliament had set up a committee to look into matters in relation to the Panama Papers. Photo / Mark Mitchell

New Zealand is not being singled out for investigation as a tax haven, the European Union says.

In a statement released today, the EU delegation in Wellington confirmed that the European Commission was assessing all non-EU countries' tax policies.

But media reports that New Zealand was being targeted for investigation as a tax haven were "incorrect and misleading", the statement said.

"This assessment is not specific to New Zealand, nor has New Zealand been singled out in any way in this assessment."

Newshub reported on Monday that New Zealand was under investigation by the EU following the release of the Panama Papers, which highlighted the ways in which offshore individuals and companies were hiding their money in New Zealand and other countries.

The EU delegation's statement said the commission's compilation of a list of countries for assessment pre-dated the Panama Papers.

"This list, which is part of a package of new measures against corporate tax avoidance, is intended to replace a current incoherent mix of EU national lists with a single EU list, based on international standards."

It did not confirm whether New Zealand was on the list, as reported by Newshub.

Revenue Minister Michael Woodhouse said earlier this week that he was aware the European Parliament had set up a committee to look into matters in relation to the Panama Papers.

But he not received any advice from the European Commission that action was being considered against New Zealand.

"The Government is confident that any objective inquiry will come to the same conclusion that the OECD and the Global forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes did when they reviewed New Zealand's tax settings and found us to be fully compliant with OECD standards.

"While our tax settings are sound by international standards, the Government was always open to making improvements to New Zealand's already strong tax settings if that was warranted."

The EU delegation said only countries which refused to comply with international good governance standards, or to engage with the EU, would be listed.

- NZ Herald

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