Monday, August 17, 2009

BVI Moves Out of OECD “grey list”

After the British Virgin Islands signed tax information exchange agreement with New Zealand, which became its 12th pact, it came in line with OECD standards for moving it to the “white list” of jurisdictions. So, last week BVI and the Cayman Islands joined the list of countries using internationally recognized tax standards, as it was said by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Since April 2009, when the G20 group of countries in co-operation with the OECD published a “grey list” of more than 30 countries, including BVI, that had agreed to move towards tax transparency standards but had not signed the necessary international records.

To get off the list, governments of these financial centres had to sign at least 12 bilateral tax agreements in line with OECD standards. Both the British Virgin Islands and the Cayman Islands signed pacts with New Zealand to provide the needed amount of bilateral treaties.

By words of the head of the OECD's Center for Tax Policy and Administration, Jeffrey Owens, the British Virgin Islands and the Cayman Islands took their place “alongside other countries that have substantially implemented the internationally agreed tax standard." He added that since April, six jurisdictions have moved to the “white” list.

By signing the 12th agreement and moving from the “grey list” of jurisdictions, BVI can avoid the accusations of being non-cooperative center favouring tax evaders and harboring those who hide billions of dollars out of reach of their home authorities.

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