Int’l Tax Concern For Government

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Finance Minister, Christopher Sinckler greets (C.Pitt/BGIS)

Finance Minister, Christopher Sinckler greets CATA President, Dr. Mohd Shukor Mahfar at the opening of the Commonwealth Association of Tax Administrators’ 37th Annual Technical Conference at the Hilton Barbados Resort today. Looking on are CATA Chairman, Sudhamo Lal and Executive Director, Duncan Onduru. (C.Pitt/BGIS)

This island’s Minister of Finance, Christopher Sinckler, has put on public record Government’s “uneasiness and dissatisfaction with the tenor and process”, which have emerged internationally for handling matters pertaining to tax administration and regulation.

Mr. Sinckler made the comments today at the opening of the five-day Commonwealth Association of Tax Administrators’ 37th Annual Technical Conference, at Hilton Barbados Resort.

He told his audience: “I can say upfront that Barbados’ record of cooperation with international processes in tax regulation and transparency has been exemplary. I certainly do believe that by and large, for most of our regional colleagues, the same can be said as well.

“It is true that while levels of engagement and intervention may differ across jurisdictions, this is more to do with the asymmetries that exist across countries relative to human resource and financial capacity than it does to a willingness of Governments to cooperate and lead on these matters.”

The Minister of Finance said that over the past 15 years, Barbados had upgraded its legislative and administrative functions to not only comply with new and evolving norms for tax regulation and transparency, but to build a far more efficient and proficient tax administration system.

“I am confident that we have, or are well on our way to achieving both of these objectives,” he assured.

Mr. Sinckler told the delegates that they were no doubt familiar with Barbados’ “forceful push back” in relation to the early incursions of the OECD harmful tax practices matter, the US-driven FATCA law and this country’s successful efforts to become compliant with its demands, and the current fighting of the potentially debilitating corresponding banking/de-risking process.

“In all respects, Barbados has modernised its legislation, upgraded its policy framework and broadened its network of partners across several countries and tax administrations to ensure that we not just secure our national space, but build firewalls against tax avoidance, money laundering, the financing of terrorism and other illicit activities,” he reiterated.

The Minister pointed out that as recently as last month the OECD upgraded Barbados’ status to largely compliant with the requirements of the OECD Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes.

He added that this country has been building an international tax jurisdiction that was stable, transparent and cooperative with international norms.

sharon.austingill-moore@barbados.gov.bb

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