Politics

Burt: EU affirms Bermuda’s tax compliance

  • David Burt, the Premier (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

Bermuda’s status as a co-operative tax jurisdiction has been reaffirmed by the European Union’s Economic and Financial Affairs Council.

But the British media have highlighted that Bermuda is among 47 jurisdictions warned to take extra steps to prevent corporate tax avoidance.

The island is not on an EU blacklist, but the Economic and Financial Affairs council, known as Ecofin, included the island among states that have agreed to take measures against companies concealing their profits.

The EU report said that Bermuda, along with five other jurisdictions, has pledged to address “economic substance concerns” by the end of 2018.

David Burt, the Premier and Minister of Finance, welcomed the announcement by the EU in the wake of global interest in the hacking of Bermudian-based law firm Appleby.

Bermuda was forced into the spotlight after the leak of millions of documents last month that detailed the tax and financial affairs of wealthy Appleby clients.

Mr Burt said: “The outcome of the Ecofin decision demonstrates Bermuda’s position as a global leader in international tax transparency.

“Bermuda is not a place to hide money, given its Common Reporting Standard and Country by Country automatic reporting regimes and membership in the OECD Inclusive Framework on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting.

“Any legitimate tax authority can request and receive information from Bermuda, under 100-plus tax-transparency relationships pursuant to the OECD multilateral tax treaty, and more than 40 bilateral Tax Information Exchange Agreements.”

The Premier said Bermuda “welcomes” continuing dialogue with the EU’s code of conduct group and EU member states.

Mr Burt added in a statement last night: “Bermuda is a recognised jurisdiction for being transparent and co-operative.

“As recently as last week, I signed a CbC Reporting Agreement with the United Kingdom, the first Overseas Territory to do so.

“Earlier today, Bermuda was reaffirmed by the EU as a tax transparency leader and a co-operative jurisdiction.

“Bermuda has committed to continued engagement with the EU and the OECD to maintain Bermuda’s global leadership in this area.”

Ross Webber, chief executive officer of the Bermuda Business Development Agency, said: “Given Bermuda’s strong record on transparency, compliance and co-operation, it’s the result we expected. We’ll continue to monitor the situation and in the interim, we’ll continue to promote Bermuda as the elite, unique jurisdiction it is. We’ll also continue to drive home the message that Bermuda is different.”

The Premier was in Miami and Miami Beach yesterday to meet the mayors of the cities, together with business leaders, including the Miami Chamber of Commerce.

Mr Burt said: “It’s important to establish business links in cities where Bermuda already enjoys direct travel connections. We carry out many of these initiatives in New York and London, but there’s more we could do in growing economies such as Miami to capitalise on potential.”