Barbados might pursue FATCA agreement with US

By added on 26/10/2012

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart has revealed that Barbados has set up a select committee to determine whether Barbados should enter an intergovernmental agreement with the United States government on the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), reports Caribbean 360.

The prime minister made this revelation Thursday (October 25) as he addressed the opening of the third International Business Conference that caps off this year’s International Business Week organized by the Barbados International Business Association and its strategic partners.

The US and the United Kingdom have already signed a bilateral agreement providing for reciprocal automatic information exchange and is considering FATCA-tax information agreements with at least 40 other countries.

With final FATCA regulations due to be released later in the year, experts are of the view that unless governments strike intergovernmental agreements with Washington, then their financial institutions will have no other option than to put infrastructure in place to comply with what several CARICOM countries have described as onerous disclosure requirements by US authorities.

Sturart told his audience at the Hilton Barbados: “I am advised that the implementation of an intergovernmental agreement may be preferred for several reasons, chief among which is that it will provide certainty for our business community and financial institutions.  Moreover, for Barbados, entering into this type of arrangement will add credence to our commitment to being a transparent, responsive and well-regulated jurisdiction.”

During his address he also charged the Barbados Ministry of International Business and International Transport to implement a functioning International Business Charter by 2013.

This charter, which has been mooted for over five years, sets standards and benchmarks for the public sector to meet when doing critical processes such as registering and licensing international businesses on the island.

“It is critical that we the providers, as well as our existing and prospective customers are clear about what the Barbados brand promises. Barbados promotes itself as a premium business brand and we therefore need to constantly offer the level of service which this requires. Being able to expand globally demands it. Our future success, and indeed our future survival, even in existing markets, demands it,” Stuart declared.

The prime minister acknowledged that Barbados needed to make its regulatory framework agile and streamline non-regulatory processes and procedures for faster response and he said that he expected the charter to reflect globally competitive standards.

The prime minister also promised greater accountability, noting that government must urgently realign our existing systems to allow for feedback and monitoring of the charter and he pointed to the business facilitation unit within Invest Barbados as the agency expected to work with the Ministry of International Business and International Transport to provide relevant feedback, particularly from clients and other stakeholders as required.

Stuart also pledged employ newer technologies where practical to provide better service and a more competitive environment. Following the path already set by the introduction of an e-platform for the submission of income tax returns, Stuart noted that the Immigration Department has some of its services online and the Corporate Affairs Department is moving to modernize its registry while similar improvements across other key government departments would be coming on stream.