SKN signs TIEA with Australia By Sheena Brooks

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In a continued effort to comply with international financial regulatory and supervisory institutions, St. Kitts-Nevis has signed a Tax Information Exchange Agreements with Australia. The signing of this 10th TIEA also signifies the Federation’s attempts to meliorate France’s blacklisting of the twin islands as uncooperative offshore financial centers. His Excellency Philip Kentwell, Australia’s Non-Resident High Commissioner to St. Kitts and Nevis, and Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas signed the important agreement last Friday in St. Kitts. “I believe that Australia definitely is one of those countries, especially in the Western Hemisphere, that St. Kitts-Nevis has been very pleased to establish further relations with. We are very pleased that after some time we have been able to successfully negotiate the new TIEA,” the Prime Minister told H.E. Kentwell. Douglas said compliance with the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development financial regulations would aid in the development of the growing financial services industry world-wide. He called the TIEA signing “mutually beneficial”. “When the international community that seems to be represented By the OECD in particular is insisting that there has to be transparency and appropriate accountability where we want to make sure that necessary regulatory and supervisory institutions are in place and this can only augur well for the overall development of the industry worldwide. We are very pleased as a country to have come to the point where we feel comfortable that what we are doing here today will be to the benefit of those in Australia and those in St. Kitts and Nevis.” H.E. Kentwell commended the efforts of the Douglas-led administration regarding its tax sharing initiatives, which he said would boost investor confidence in the local financial services industry. “From my desk in Trinidad I’ve been observing that under your leadership St. Kitts and Nevis has taken quite a number of initiatives on TIEA activities and I want to congratulate your government for that leadership and direction because as we appreciate, the whole financial services industry is one which we need to make sure is managed carefully to encourage investor confidence and I’m sure this is going to further strengthen the relationship that our two countries have already enjoyed.” St. Kitts was among 8 Caribbean nations blacklisted By France in February as uncooperative tax havens. Belize, Anguilla, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines also made the 18-country offshore blacklist. Dr. Douglas had called the blacklisting “premature”, explaining that after being placed on an OECD grey list in 2009, a March 2010 ratification deadline had been established for branded countries to meet the minimum requirements to be removed from the list. Last year the French government passed a law that domestic companies that have any established commercial connections with the 18 countries on the tax haven black list would see a 50% tax imposed on dividends, interests, royalties and service fees paid By domestic firms to companies operating in those countries. This law took effect March 1. St. Kitts-Nevis has already signed a number of TIEAs including those with Monaco, The Netherlands, The Netherlands Antilles, Aruba, United Kingdom, Denmark, Belgium, New Zealand and Liechtenstein. St. Kitts and Nevis will be signing agreements with six Nordic countries on March 24 and has already initialed or concluded negotiations with and is awaiting dates for signature with Canada, France, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Greenland, Faroe Islands, Iceland, Finland and San Marino. According to information coming from the Prime Minister’s Communications Office “The Federation has commenced discussions with India, Japan, the Republic of Seychelles and the United States on Tax Information Exchange Agreement but has not yet confirmed the text for these agreements”.

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