Barbados can now boast of being a signatory to the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement.

In a signing ceremony last Thursday evening at the Hilton Barbados Resort, this country and 10 other jurisdictions became signatories to the Agreement, which implements the new international standard on Automatic Exchange of Information.

The Agreement has already been signed this past year by 61 jurisdictions, with the latest signatories now bringing the number to 74.

Speaking to media after the signing, International Business Minister Donville Inniss, said that the mandate of the Global Forum and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) with respect to these matters is to get the Automatic Exchange of Information across countries.

???What we just witnessed here is the signing of the Competent Authorities, which will be the agencies in each country that will be responsible for collecting information on tax and sharing it across the world. So, for example, I would have signed on behalf of Barbados on to the Convention that will allow Barbados to in principle agree to sharing information on tax affairs across borders within the Global Forum arrangement,??? he explained.

He further pointed out that the Competent Authority in Barbados is the Barbados Revenue Authority (BRA), led by Revenue Commissioner, Margaret Sivers, who signed on its behalf.

???So, in principle with the countries having agreed to sign on just as we did with the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) to the United States of America, I would have signed a government agreement on behalf of the Government and people of Barbados but you still need a specific entity to be the Competent Authority.

???And in the U.S.A in terms of FATCA, their Competent Authority is the Inland Revenue Service and here in Barbados it is the BRA. So, we need to have these agreements signed so that there is no doubt as to who is responsible for collecting and disseminating information. In the event of any legal dispute, we have a document which can withstand itself in any court around the jurisdiction,??? the Minister said.

According to Mr. Inniss, this multilateral arrangement was a lot easier as countries no longer had to negotiate bilaterals for each country, as they have all signed on within the mechanism and agreed to the framework. ???We will now be able to share information through this arrangement,??? he pointed out.

Deputy Director of Legal Affairs at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, Madame Josee Secteau, described the event as representing ???the remarkable recent progress made in international tax transparency???.?????The signatories can be proud to be part of this change,??? she said.

Along with Barbados, the jurisdictions which signed on to the Agreement are Belize, Bulgaria, Grenada, Japan, Marshall Islands, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Lucia, Samoa, St. Maarten and Antigua and Barbuda.

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