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Bermuda Rejects Corporate Tax Haven Label

by Mike Godfrey, Lowtax.net, Washington
15 December, 2016

Bermuda's Government has expressed surprise and disappointment over a tax and transparency report from the charity Oxfam labeling the island a corporate "tax haven."

The island's Government said the report contains "substantial errors" and ignores "Bermuda's internationally recognized role as a center of corporate and tax transparency, and of compliance, a key ally in the fight against money-laundering and all criminal activities, and a committed partner in the initiatives of the OECD on tax reform under the BEPS initiative."

The Bermuda Business Development Agency (BDA), which promotes Bermuda's financial services sector, was similarly critical of the report noting that it ignores the the island's "substantial global economic contribution".

"Unfortunately, many of the Oxfam assertions are based on flawed economics and lack of understanding," said Ross Webber, Chief Executive Officer of the BDA.

"We consider it an inaccurate, ill informed, and disturbingly prejudiced attack on a small north-Atlantic archipelago that exerts an enormously positive impact globally – including on the very regions and populations Oxfam wrongly accuses us of threatening."

"Bermuda's economic model is different to any other international financial center," Webber said. "We support close to a half-million jobs globally, creating employment not only on the island itself, but also in onshore trading partners. That amounts to an estimated 300,000 jobs in the US and more than 70,000 in the UK through trade, foreign direct investment, and portfolio investment capacity. In this way, our 21 square-mile country facilitates critical economic globalization."

Webber said that Bermuda helps preserve and grow the pensions of millions of onshore workers, including those in the UK, and is a destination for financial investment by onshore pensions and governments amounting to more than USD20bn.

He also pointed to the island's global reinsurance market as vital to other countries' economic health and survival. Webber said Bermuda is home to companies that provide 35 percent of capacity for Lloyd's of London, and through payment of insurance claims, they are responsible for the rebuilding of cities, coastlines, and communities around the world after the worst disasters.

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