‘White list’ in sight?

Cayman’s ticket off the international finance probation list could be on its way.

Leader of Government Business McKeeva Bush said Friday that his administration intended to put pen to paper on a 12th bilateral tax information exchange agreement in the next few weeks, probably with officials from New Zealand.

Mr. Bush said arrangements were being made for Cayman’s representatives to travel to Washington D.C. to meet the kiwi delegation at its DC embassy in the near future.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development had previously placed Cayman on its so called ‘grey-list’ of countries that had committed to internationally accepted financial reporting standards, but which had not substantially implemented those plans.

The organisation said it required a minimum of 12 tax information exchange agreements to elevate a country to the ‘white list’ of well-accepted financial jurisdictions.

Cayman signed its 11th tax agreement with the Netherlands on 8 July.

‘I realise there are some concerns being aired regarding the possibility of the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) moving the goal post, so to speak, or that the stated number of 12 agreements may be changed,’ Mr. Bush said. ‘However, based on discussions I have had with OECD officials, this is highly unlikely.’

Mr. Bush said Cayman was continuing to pursue tax agreements with not only New Zealand, but Italy, Germany, Mexico, France, Australia, Portugal and Canada as well.

He said he hoped those agreements would be signed by September ‘at the latest.’

A frequent criticism of Cayman and other offshore financial jurisdictions has been that they are lax in tax reporting requirements.

Cayman’s government takes approximately $160 million in revenues each from the financial industry sector, roughly 32 per cent of the country’s overall operating revenue in central government.

‘I realise there are some concerns being aired regarding the possibility of the OECD moving the goal post, so to speak, or that the stated number of 12 agreements may be changed. However, based on discussions I have had with OECD officials, this is highly unlikely.’

Mr. Bush

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