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British Virgin Islands and Cayman Islands join OECD tax white list

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New Zealand has signed tax information exchange agreements with the British Virgin Islands and the Cayman Islands, bringing to 12 the number of agreements that the British Virgin Island

New Zealand has signed tax information exchange agreements with the British Virgin Islands and the Cayman Islands, bringing to 12 the number of agreements that the British Virgin Islands and the Cayman Islands have on exchange of information for tax purposes.
 
This moves both jurisdictions into the category of ‘jurisdictions that have substantially implemented the internationally agreed tax standard’ in the progress report initially published by the OECD Secretariat on 2 April and updated on 14 August.

Bermuda and Luxembourg have also been added to the OECD’s ‘white list’ of compliant jurisdictions since it was first published.
 
Jeffrey Owens, director of the OECD’s Centre for Tax Policy and Administration, says: ‘Today the British Virgin Islands and the Cayman Islands take their place alongside other countries that have substantially implemented the internationally agreed tax standard. Six jurisdictions have moved into this category since April. We look forward to working further with the British Virgin Islands and Cayman Islands as they extend their network of agreements and work to swiftly and effectively implement them.’

The bilateral accord signed in Washington, D.C. by BVI Premier and Minister of Finance, Ralph T. O’Neal, and New Zealand’s Ambassador Roy Ferguson, brings the number to 12 of TIEAs signed by the BVI since 2002.

TIEAs have already been concluded with major international power players, such as the US, France, UK, Australia and seven Nordic countries. In the succeeding months, Premier O’Neal is also expected to sign additional agreements with several other countries.

The BVI was part of a group of countries that first signed on to the OECD standards for the effective exchange of civil and criminal tax information and transparency in April 2002.

Sherri Ortiz, executive director of BVI’s International Finance Centre, says: "The BVI has engaged in negotiating TIEAs since 2002 in regards to international co-operation and information exchange in tax matters, and it is something we are happy to continue."

The Cayman Islands recognition came about after the country signed its 12th tax information exchange agreement with New Zealand on 13 August.

Cayman leader of government business and premier designate McKeeva Bush says: "For over four decades the Cayman Islands has steadily earned its place as a world-class international financial services centre. The Cayman Islands Government sees the OECD’s recognition as a natural outcome of the country’s substantial commitment to uphold an equally world-class international cooperation regime in the exchange of tax information.

"The Cayman Islands Government is looking forward to working in partnership with competent authorities in implementing agreements it has signed, concluding additional agreements with Cayman’s important trading partners in financial services and continuing its active role in the OECD Global Forum, to which it committed to in 2000."

According to international law firm Walkers, it was always expected that Cayman and the BVI would be added to the white list without delay. However, the efforts of the Cayman and BVI governments to fast-track a number of existing negotiations, and to enter into fresh negotiations with major OECD member countries, ‘demonstrate their commitment to the application of international standards in the area of exchange of tax information and transparency. This endorsement will further bolster the reputation of both Cayman and BVI as hubs for international cross-border transactions and investment funds.’

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