Saint Kitts: Double Tax Treaties
Other International Agreements
In mid-1998, Saint Kitts and Nevis signed a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty with the United States. As is usual for Mutual Legal Assistance Agreements under the Caribbean Basin Initiative, the treaty covers exchange of information for money laundering, drug abuse, criminal activity or fraud but specifically does not extend to any taxation matters.
Alongside most other Caribbean offshore jurisdictions, Saint Kitts has expressed its willingness to enter into Tax Information Exchange Agreements with OECD members. Such agreements will apply to criminal tax matters beginning in the first year after 31 December 2003 and for civil tax matters beginning in the first year after 31 December 2005. The exchanges shall be achieved through the adoption of tax information exchange agreements that require the effective exchange of information in specific tax matters upon request. The tax information exchange agreements will include protections against unauthorised disclosures or unauthorised use of information.
In response to international pressure, including the campaigns of the OECD and the FATF, Saint Kitts and Nevis has also introduced a number of measures to upgrade its anti-money laundering legislation:
- The Anti-Money Laundering Regulations, 2011, repealed the Anti-Money Laundering Regulations 2008. The new Regulations set out strict rules with regard to customer due diligence procedures.
- The Nevis Business Corporation (Amendment) Ordinance, 2001 (No. 3 of 2001) which seeks to immobilize bearer shares in Nevis and provide for bearer shares to be kept in the custody of a registered agent on the island of Nevis.
- The Companies (Amendment) Act, 2001 (No. 14 of 2001), which immobilizes bearer certificates issued by Companies under the Companies Act of Saint Kitts, 1996.
- The Nevis Offshore Banking (Amendment) Ordinance, 2001 which provides for beneficial owners or shareholders of companies involved in offshore banking in Nevis being properly identified. It also makes provision for only “fit and proper” persons having any interest greater than 5% in any Offshore Banking entities in Nevis.
- Other recent legislation includes the Money Laundering (Prevention) Act 2000, the Financial Services Intelligence Unit Act 2000, and the Financial Services Commission Act 2000. The latter piece of legislation seeks to establish the Financial Services Commission as the main regulatory body for the offshore sector.
In 2008, the government announced further steps would be taken to strengthen the jurisdiction's anti-money laundering regime, and in June, the National Assembly began to consider a number of new bills in this area, including the Payment Systems Bill, the Bills of Exchange (Amendment) Bill, the Financial Services Commission (Amendment) Bill and the Financial Intelligence Unit (Amendment) Bill. Minister of National Security, Dwyer Astaphan introduced the Anti-Terrorism (Amendment) Bill at the same sitting of the National Assembly.
In August, 2004, Saint Kitts and Nevis ratified the Inter-American Convention against Corruption to become the 32nd member country of the Organization of American States (OAS) to join this treaty. Ambassador Izben C. Williams, Permanent Representative of Saint Kitts and Nevis to the OAS presented the instruments of ratification to Assistant Secretary General Luigi Einaudi, in a brief ceremony at OAS headquarters.
The Inter-American Convention against Corruption was adopted in Caracas, Venezuela, in March 1996 and entered into force a year later.