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Bermuda Fires Back At UK Calls For Beneficial Ownership Data

by Mike Godfrey, Lowtax.net, Washington
25 November, 2014

Bermuda has delivered a forthright response to UK calls for the introduction of a public register of information on the beneficial ownership of Bermuda entities, stating that it will introduce such measures only when the UK, US, and Canada do the same for their companies.

The UK had proposed that, to promote increased transparency, international financial centers should make this information available – and potentially publicly available.

Bermuda's Minister of Finance, Bob Richards, said: "Despite having no hand in creating the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development tax system, Bermuda has for the last 75 years led the way in terms of transparency, having established a legislative framework requiring that persons wishing to incorporate in Bermuda provide central authorities with information on the proposed beneficial owners of the business. Bermuda signed its first tax information exchange agreement (TIEA) with the United States in 1986 and a TIEA with the United Kingdom in 2007."

"If we agree to a public register, while our competitors around the world do not, we will put ourselves at a distinct disadvantage, severely damaging our economy."

Richard pointed out that Bermuda has TIEAs with 80 countries, including 41 TIEAs with 90 percent of the Group of Twenty countries (G-20), 76 percent of OECD countries, and 52 percent of EU member states. Richards also noted that, in September 2013, Bermuda joined the OECD Multilateral Convention on Mutual Assistance in Tax Matters to facilitate cooperation between jurisdictions in the assessment and collections of taxes, in particular to combat tax avoidance and evasion.

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