Wednesday, October 21, 2009

BVI and Other Jurisdictions Protest Against Blaming Them

After the summit of the G-20 leaders, which was held on September 24-25 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, offshore jurisdictions in the Caribbean and Atlantic regions started to protest against the attempts of the countries of the Group 20 to penalise them for not complying with taxation and transparency standards, which only become stricter, and take other steps that make the offshore centres the image of shady tax havens.

The leaders, policymakers and business chiefs of the offshore centres, including the Cayman Islands, the British Virgin Islands, Bermuda, Belize and many others, expressed the common opinion that their countries are used as the scapegoats for the global financial crisis and downturn. By their words, it is not fair that they are treated as hide-outs for tax evaders and crooks, and this anti-tax haven “finger pointing” is just the attempt to shift blame away from the policies and tax regulation methods of the world's economic leaders.

In April 2009, the leaders of G20 group and the OECD issued the “grey list” of offshore countries which did not fully comply with internationally agreed tax standards. There were more than 12 Caribbean jurisdictions on the list, including BVI and Bermuda. The governments of these countries made efforts to get themselves out of this list, and most of them succeeded in it, signing 12 bilateral tax agreements. BVI and the Caymans were excluded from the “grey list” in July 2009, Bermuda was moved to the “white list” in June, and other Caribbean states are signing tax treaties.

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