Bahamas Signs Up To International Tax Initiatives
by Mike Godfrey, Lowtax.net, Washington
15 December, 2017
The Bahamas on December 15 signed the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters at the OECD Headquarters in Paris and joined the OECD's base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) Inclusive Framework.
With this signing, the Bahamas became the 116th jurisdiction to join the world's leading instrument for boosting transparency and combating cross-border tax evasion.
The OECD touts the Convention as the most powerful instrument for international tax cooperation providing for all forms of administrative assistance in tax matters: exchange of information on request, spontaneous exchange, automatic exchange, tax examinations abroad, simultaneous tax examinations, and assistance in tax collection. It guarantees extensive safeguards for the protection of taxpayers' rights.
The OECD said: "The Convention will enable the Bahamas to fulfill their commitment to implement the Standard for Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information in Tax Matters and begin the first of such exchanges by 2018."
The Bahamas has also recently signed the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement (MCAA) to automatically exchange financial account information under the new global Common Reporting Standard (CRS), in the margins of the 14th meeting of the Automatic Exchange of Information Group of the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information in Tax Matters, which took place on December 13-15, 2017, in San Marino.
In another major step to boost international tax cooperation, the Bahamas also joined the inclusive framework on BEPS as its 110th member, and in doing so committed to implementing the BEPS Project's minimum standards.
In implementing the minimum standards, territories agree to remove harmful tax provisions in their domestic tax regimes, amend their tax treaty rules to prevent treaty abuse, implement country-by-country reporting rules and exchange these reports with other countries, and work together to improve cross-border tax dispute resolution mechanisms.
"Signing the Convention is an assertion of the commitment by the Bahamas to protect the integrity of its financial services industry and to effectively implement the OECD's international standards on tax transparency for the automatic exchange of financial account information," said Kevin Peter Turnquest, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of the Bahamas, who signed the agreement. "The Bahamas is a well known leading international financial centre, as such, we will continue to maintain a well regulated and transparent environment for the provision of international financial services. This week, we have taken major steps to ensure this by also signing the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement (MCAA), and by joining the Inclusive Framework on Base Erosion Profit Shifting (BEPS)."
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