Bahamas to host OECD meeting

By added on 06/07/2010

The third meeting of the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development's (OECD) Peer Review Group, part of its Global Forum on transparency and exchange of information for tax purposes, will be held in Nassau from July 20-22, 2010, The Tribune reports.

This will be the first time the Bahamas hosts a meeting of an OECD-related initiative.

The Peer Review Group (PRG) was established by the Global Forum in September 2009, as a technical working group consisting of representatives of 30 countries, including the Bahamas. It is operating under a mandate to develop and implement a system for the assessment, monitoring and review of actions taken by member countries towards the implementation of the established standards for transparency and information exchange with regard to tax matters.

The newly-developed Peer Review Process was launched in March 2010, and is now in its first stage of implementation, beginning with the assessment of the first group of 18 jurisdictions, including: Australia, Barbados, Bermuda, Botswana, Canada, Cayman Islands, Denmark, Germany, India, Ireland, Jamaica, Jersey, Mauritius, Monaco, Norway, Panama, Qatar, and Trinidad & Tobago.

Some 100 jurisdictions, including the Bahamas, will be assessed over the next three years, in a two-phase process (similar to that employed by the Financial Action Task Force) that examines legal and regulatory frameworks for transparency and information exchange, as well as practical implementation.

The Phase 1 review for the Bahamas began on July 1, and should take six months, with the Phase 2 review being scheduled for July 2012. Based on the PRG's Assessment Criteria, there will be a need to continually address, from now on, the issue of transparency and exchange of information for tax matters, including through the negotiation of new TIEAs.

In March 2010, the Bahamas achieved the minimum standard of 12 signed TIEAs that was required in order to be removed from the OECD/G20 'grey list'.

As of June 17, 2010, 22 TIEAs have been signed by the Bahamas, including agreements with the United States, Monaco, San Marino, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, the People's Republic of China, Argentina, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Mexico, the Nordic Countries (Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, The Faroes and Greenland), Spain, Australia, Germany and Canada.