UK to upgrade Barbados’ status
BRITAIN?HAS SAID IT WILL upgrade Barbados’ status relating to compliance with information disclosure and other laws governing offshore financial centres.
According to a Press release from Invest Barbados, a Government economic development agency responsible for promoting the export of goods and services, Barbados has been notified it will be promoted to Category 2 status when a revised Statutory Instrument is made in a few months’ time.
“This significant upgrade of Barbados from Category 3 status was a direct result of its 2011 Income Tax (Exchange of Information) Regulations which provide for the unilateral exchange of tax information according to the 2008 OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) standard with Barbados’ new and existing tax treaty partners, including the UK, who are now unable to exchange tax information consistent with international standards,” the release said.
The British government also signalled its support for a revised OECD Global Forum Phase I report on Barbados’ transparency and tax information exchange credentials based on the 2011 regulations, noting that “there is a strong case for a supplementary report to be presented [by Barbados] to the Peer Review Group (PRG)of the Global Forum on the Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes as soon as possible”.
The Global Forum is the multilateral framework for dealing with issues of transparency and exchange of information by both OECD and non-OECD economies. In order to carry out in-depth monitoring and review of implementation of OECD tax standards, the Global Forum has established a Peer Review Group.
“This swift and decisive response by the British Government is most welcome and underscores the long history of tax co-operation our countries have enjoyed since 1970 when the Barbados-UK tax treaty came into force,” the release quoted Prime Minister Freundel Stuart as saying.
It said the Prime Minister noted that, like the OECD Global Forum, Barbados believed information exchange should be grounded in the provisions of a bilateral agreement and was pleased that during the week of May 16 a protocol to the tax treaty with the UK would be negotiated to update, among other things, the existing provision on exchange of information.
In its Phase I report, the PRG cited Barbados’ inability to exchange tax information with relevant partners because existing treaties, although providing for information exchange, did not contain the 2008 standard and new treaties reflecting the standard had not yet been ratified.
The PRG did, however, acknowledge that Barbados had done all within its power to update existing treaties and to bring its new treaties into force but nonetheless determined that Barbados would not be eligible for a Phase II evaluation of its administrative policies and practices supporting tax information for 12 months.(PR/AB)