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Bahamas To Enact Tax Legislation To Adopt International Standards

by Mike Godfrey, Lowtax.net, Washington
23 November, 2018

Representatives from the Bahamas Government have held a number of meetings in Brussels and Paris with the EU's Code of Conduct Group (business taxation) and the OECD to discuss the territory's efforts to comply with international standards on tax governance.

In Brussels, the delegation had a series of bilateral meetings with the Code of Conduct Group, the Directorate-General for Taxation and Customs Union, and other representatives of the European Commission. In Paris, the delegation met with the Deputy Secretary General of the OECD, the Deputy Director of the OECD Center for Tax Policy and Administration, and the Head of the Secretariat of the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes.

According to a statement from the Bahamas Government, the meetings centered on the high-level commitments that the Government has made with respect to the EU's criteria on economic substance and transparency and the OECD's BEPS minimum standards. Deputy Prime Minister Peter Turnquest provided an update on the Bahamas' efforts to fulfil its commitments and reinforced that "while the Bahamas will meet the December 31, 2018, deadline, some consideration should be given to the challenges jurisdictions face in implementing such extensive reform within such a short timeframe." He said he further stressed that "the constant threat of black or grey listing is a major constraint to economic development and has repercussions that are felt well beyond the financial services industry."

The EU and OECD officials were presented with draft copies of the Commercial Entities (Substance Requirements) Bill, the Removal of Preferential Exemptions Bill, the Register of Beneficial Ownership Bill, and the Non-Profit Organizations Bill. These bills will be enacted by the end of November, the Government said, explaining that such would reinforce the territory's efforts to safeguard the financial sector and ensure the removal of the Bahamas from all tax "watch lists" in the shortest time frame possible."

Turnquest stated: "The meetings were very productive and we feel that the Europeans now have a greater understanding that The Bahamas has always been focused, at the highest political level, on protecting the integrity of the Bahamian financial system from abuse. Our approach has been to take a holistic view of the challenges that confront us and pragmatically do what promotes the long term viability of our financial services industry."


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