Barbados’ removal from the European Union’s (EU) blacklist has been welcomed by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Barbados (ICAB).
During her welcome remarks at the 15th Annual ICAB International Business Workshop, at the Barbados Hilton Resort, ICAB’s Executive Director, Kathy-Ann Hewitt, stated: “We are indeed happy that this change has met with the approval of the OECD’s Forum on Harmful Tax Practices who in their most recent review last month concluded that Barbados’ domestic legal framework is in line with the Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) Action 5 Minimum Standard, and is therefore not harmful.
“Similarly, the removal of Barbados from the EU’s Blacklist of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions in May this year back to its Grey List of jurisdiction.”
Ms. Hewitt was referring to the significant changes with respect to the legislation impacting Barbados’ international financial sector, which resulted in the removal of Barbados from the EU’s Blacklist.
She noted that by late last year Government would have taken the bold move to remove the differences between the corporation tax rates for domestic companies and companies in the international business sector by way of downward tax convergence.
However, Ms. Hewitt emphasized that the International Business Sector is one where the goalpost is constantly changing and products and structures that may have worked in the past may no longer be relevant. She said not only are there changes in the legal and regulatory requirements of the countries that Barbados wishes to attract business from, but there is also competition for this business from many other jurisdictions.
Ms. Hewitt added that “in order for Barbados to retain existing business, and continue to attract new business in this sector…we must continually monitor trends and look for new ways to expand our knowledge and seek to keep ahead of the curve”.
Minister of International Business and Industry, Ronald Toppin, in his feature address to open ICAB’s International Business Workshop, stated: “It is, indeed, fitting that I present to you the changes impacting our business sector within recent times and which have a direct impact on the practice of your profession.
“I am also heartened by the fact that ICAB sponsors these business workshops and I encourage you to continue to do so. This is critical especially when it comes to change management within the international business and financial services sector.”
Mr. Toppin applauded ICAB for its continued cooperation with the ministry, and said that it demonstrated the hallmark of what private/public collaboration should be.