Bermuda FM disputes TJN tax report

By added on 13/11/2013

Bermuda's Finance Minister, Bob Richards, has hit back at a report from the Tax Justice Network (TJN) which describes the island as the most secretive British offshore territory, reports Tax News.

The TJN, a coalition of researchers and activists committed to combating tax avoidance, wrote to the Queen, urging her to tackle "tax havens and secrecy jurisdictions" within the British commonwealth.

The group gave Bermuda a score of 80 in its financial secrecy index, making it the worst performer out of ten Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies included in the index. The island rates as "wholly uncompliant" on nine out of 15 key secrecy indicators on the index.

However, Mr Richards challenged the TJN report, saying it is "riddled with deception or a political agenda, I don't know which it is."

He insisted that Bermuda is "wholly compliant" in obtaining and updating beneficial ownership information.

In response to the TJN's low rating of Bermuda in terms of whether it requires company accounts to be made publicly available he said: "I don't know of any G8 country that publicly reveals accounts unless they are a public company on the stock exchange. It's really hypocritical. It's not required in the US or UK."

The finance minister pointed out that Bermuda's tax information exchange agreement network covers nearly 40 jurisdictions, including almost all G8 countries and 75 per cent of G20 countries. He also noted that the territory has joined the OECD/Council of Europe multilateral tax agreement and the US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA).