Friday, Jan 24, 2020
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Govt highlights recent steps towards international tax compliance

The Bahamas made three significant steps towards international tax cooperation last week. These moves come shortly after The Bahamas was spared from being blacklisted as a tax haven in the European Union’s (EU) December 2017 blacklist.

This country, however, is still not yet clear of the danger of joining the list.

While The Bahamas was not named on the blacklist, the EU placed eight jurisdictions on watch that were impacted “badly” by hurricanes this summer, including The Bahamas.

The EU said that these jurisdictions, which were given special consideration, have been given until early 2018 to respond to the EU’s concerns, suggesting that there is still work to be done.

Last week, The Bahamas signed the Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters, the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement (MCAA), and made a formal commitment to join the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) initiative by becoming a member of its inclusive framework.

Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest said, “Signing the convention sends a strong message to the international community that The Bahamas is committed to working with our international partners in adhering to international standards for tax cooperation.”

“We will no longer play catch up and risk being blacklisted, we will be the standard setters for international financial centers.”

Minister of Financial Services, Trade & Industry and Immigration Brent Symonette said: “This week of events in the financial services industry of The Bahamas further demonstrates the efforts of the government to properly regulate, stabilize and stimulate the Bahamian economy.

“We cannot stop now, this is the beginning of many changes to come to improve not only our reputation as a financial center, but also the quality and efficiency of services we provide.”

The two ministers signed the convention at the headquarters of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in Paris, France. The multilateral agreement was signed in San Marino, Italy.

According to a government statement released yesterday, “The Bahamas must now ready itself as new international regulatory standards begin to unfold.

“Financial Institutions can be assured that we will remain a compliant jurisdiction for legitimate business. We must be consistent in the fight against financial crime and other illicit activity in the enforcement of financial services regulation.

“We will ensure efficiency and affordability in the ease of doing business for domestic and international clients as we do all that is necessary to sustain and grow the financial services sector and protect the economy of The Bahamas.”

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