Bermuda Premier on UK calls for tax transparency: “We are already there”

By added on 23/05/2013

Premier Craig Cannonier has responded to British warnings to its overseas territories on tax avoidance and tax transparency, reports the Royal Gazette.

“Prime Minister (David) Cameron is keen to underscore Britain's position on fighting tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance through tax information exchange and access to information on beneficial ownership of companies.

“Bermuda has no qualms with this. We are already there and we continue to keep abreast of developing standards. The combined work of the Ministry of Finance and the Bermuda Monetary Authority over several decades now has put Bermuda among the leading countries in relation to tax information exchange and KYC or "know your customer", which includes having access to information on beneficial ownership companies.

“As you know, Bermuda for decades has required companies seeking to incorporate in Bermuda to file beneficial ownership information with the Bermuda Monetary Authority; many of our peer jurisdictions have not caught up in this area.

“Further, we have recently passed legislation to license all Corporate Service Providers (CSPs) in Bermuda and bring them under the umbrella of the Proceeds of Crime Act that imposes the FATF (Financial Action Task Force) standard on beneficial ownership.”

The Premier added: “Bermuda is recognised internationally for its integrity and transparency as a centre for legitimate international business.

“Our job now is to grow the economy again, create jobs and new wealth for Bermudians. That is our priority.”

Mr Cameron wrote to the Island this week, along with the rest of Britain’s Overseas Territories and Crown dependencies: “This is the critical moment to get our own houses in order”.

The letter, which didn’t specifically single out by name any of the 10 territories to which it was addressed, emphasised Mr Cameron’s respect for their right to be “lower tax jurisdictions”.

Britain is under pressure on the issue as it hosts the G8 Summit on June 15.