- Finance Minister asserts market leading position for Bermuda on corporate and tax transparency.
HAMILTON, Bermuda, Nov. 21, 2014 /CNW/ - The Government of Bermuda's Deputy Premier and Minister of Finance, the Hon. E.T. (Bob) Richards J.P., M.P., has announced today that Bermuda will reserve any commitment to uphold a UK model of beneficial ownership prior to international policy development in this arena. In addition, Bermuda will wait until the UK, US and Canada adopt public beneficial ownership registers.
Following his recent visit to London, Minister Richards said: "Despite having no hand in creating the OECD (Organisation for Economic Development and Co-operation) tax system, Bermuda has for the last 75 years led the way in terms of transparency, having established a legislative framework requiring that persons wishing to incorporate in Bermuda provide central authorities with information on the proposed beneficial owners of the business. Bermuda signed its first Tax Information Exchange Agreement (TIEA) with the United States in 1986 and a TIEA with the United Kingdom in 2007."
"If we agree to a public register while our competitors around the world do not, we will put ourselves at a distinct disadvantage, severely damaging our economy."
Today, Bermuda has information exchange agreements with 80 countries, including 41 TIEA agreements in place with 90% of G20, 76% of OECD and 52% of EU member states. In September 2013, Bermuda joined the OECD Multilateral Convention on Mutual Assistance in Tax Matters to facilitate cooperation between jurisdictions in the assessment and collections of taxes, in particular to combat tax avoidance and evasion.
Minister Richards added: "Bermuda has never been a jurisdiction with bank secrecy laws. Whilst we respect the privacy accorded to people bestowed by British Common Law, we are not in the business of parking and hiding tax evaders' money from legitimate authorities. If you are a tax evader, a terrorist financier or a fraudster, don't use Bermuda. We don't want your business and you are not protected on our shores."
Bermuda's international business sector provides a distinct value proposition to the global economy. Housing 16 of the top 40 reinsurances companies in the world and supporting up to 100,000 jobs in the UK and 350,000 in the US, Bermuda stands out because of its financial services market.
Notes to Editors
Bermuda is a self-governing British Overseas Territory in the Atlantic Ocean covering approximately 21 square miles with an estimated population of 61,777.
The economy of Bermuda is based primarily on international business and tourism. In 2013 these sectors represented approximately 26.2% and 4.7%, respectively, of Bermuda's estimated nominal GDP of $5.57 billion. The Government estimates that in 2013 the tourism sector accounted for about 12% of employment. The estimated per capita nominal GDP in 2013 was $85,747, one of the highest in the world.
Bermuda is a leading international financial centre and is considered the "risk capital of the world" with insurance assets accounting for over 60% of all financial activity. It contributes up to 100,000 jobs to the UK economy and, as a result of its robust but flexible regulatory system and consumption-based tax system, large numbers of leading international insurance companies operate in Bermuda.
The territory has taken the lead in transparency and cooperation on international taxation matters with 41 Tax Information Exchange Agreements with 90% of the G20 and 76% of OECD and 52% of EU member states.
Bermuda is rated A+ by Fitch Ratings Agency, A1 by Moody's Investor Service and AA- by Standard and Poor's.
SOURCE: The Government of Bermuda
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