Tuesday, May 19, 2009

BVI Government Signs Tax Treaties with Nordic Countries

On May 18, 2009, the British Virgin Islands has signed bilateral tax information exchange agreements (TIEAs), as well as the series of commercial agreements, with the Nordic group of countries at Iceland's Embassy in Denmark. The agreements require the BVI to make available information relating to criminal or civil tax matters, and are said to reflect all governments' shared commitment to implement the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development principles of transparency and effective exchange of information. On behalf of the government of the BVI, the agreements were signed by Minister of Health and Social Development Dancia Penn, and Kristian Jensen, the Danish Minister of Taxation, and Ambassadors and senor representatives of Faroes, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden signed the agreements on behalf of their respective countries.

Now it can be assumed that the territory has become closer to getting off the “grey” list of international offshore centres, issued by the OECD - the list of countries that have not yet fully complied with rules on sharing tax information. BVI Premier Ralph O'Neal has said in his comments that the country will sign tax agreements with France and New Zealand, and then move to the so-called white list of fully compliant offshore jurisdictions.

Also, the BVI and the Nordic countries have signed commercial agreements concerning the avoidance of double taxation for enterprises operating ships or aircraft, and mutual agreement procedures and agreements for the avoidance of double taxation with respect to individuals. The governments of all countries which have signed the agreements have also stated that, while the TIEAs are in force, neither party will introduce any discriminatory, prejudicial or restrictive measures based on harmful tax practices.

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