Business

Barbados to amend legislation to deal with tax avoidance

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

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BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, (CMC) — Barbados says it is seeking to amend legislation as it moves to deal with tax avoidance and ensure a more transparent tax environment.

Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development Minister Donville Inniss, addressing a conference here, said that he was also encouraging members of the international business sector to study the work of the Forum on Harmful Tax Practices.

Inniss told the International Business Week Conference that this research must be conducted within the context of Government's commitment to the sustainability of this sector and its operation on a level that provides a secure jurisdiction to conduct business.

He told delegates that Barbados joined the inclusive forum in July and in so doing, was committed to the Base Erosion Profit Sharing Action Plan (BEPs) framework and its consistent implementation.

“We therefore collaborate on an equal footing with other members and will work to tackle tax avoidance; improving the coherence of international tax rules; and ensuring a more transparent tax environment. We therefore have work to do.

“We must refocus our efforts on making the necessary amendments to the legislation to ensure that it meets the relevant standards and provides for the substantial business activity on which our 'offshore' sector was built.”

Inniss said that the Freundel Stuart Government was currently preparing Barbados' draft Multilateral Instrument (MLI) position for signature before year end, and that this instrument was an important element of the BEPs Action plan and is one of the four minimum standards required in order to implement the tax treaty-related aspects of BEPs.

“Instead of a bilateral treaty renegotiation process that would take decades, the MLI will allow the entry into force, in a shorter time span, of tax treaty-related BEPs measures. I am sure you will agree, that our country's tax treaty network has been one of the pillars on which the international business sector has stood.

“This growing network is testament to Barbados' cooperation and demonstration of an understanding of issues that affect tax systems of partner jurisdictions. The government of Barbados is committed to honouring these Agreements, negotiated in a spirit of mutual trust, cooperation and respect.” Inniss said.

He said going forward, Barbados was moving to strengthen the anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) framework of the international business sector and Barbados' Mutual Evaluation report.

He said the evaluation report would be discussed at the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) Plenary session next month, and updates and revisions to the national AML/CFT regime would be informed by the outcome of that exercise.

He urged sector officials to embrace the challenging times and advised them to take a proactive stance and equip their businesses and staff with the necessary skills, technologies and knowledge to address the new changes.

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