EXCHANGE OF TAX INFORMATION TO PROMOTE INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS

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Photo:  Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, during the sitting of National Assembly on Friday, December 11.

Basseterre, St. Kitts, December 11, 2015 (SKNIS): The proposed amendments to the Saint Christopher and Nevis Mutual Exchange of Information on Taxation Matters (Amendment) Bill, 2015 would greatly assist in minimizing the challenges that St. Kitts and Nevis faces when executing obligations under Agreements with treaty partners, said Prime Minister, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, during the sitting of Federal Parliament on Friday, December 11.

Prime Minister Harris noted that the Act was passed in 2009 to allow the Federation to exchange information with other jurisdictions for tax purposes.

“The Federation currently has exchange of information mechanisms with 37 jurisdictions,” he said. “Most of these are in the form of Tax Information Exchange Agreements (TIEAs) where, to date, we have TIEAs with 24 jurisdictions while the other 13 exchange mechanisms are in the form of Double Taxation Conventions.”

Dr. Harris noted that the ”continued expansion for exchange of information network has proven to the international community that St. Kitts and Nevis is committed to the promotion of international standards for transparency and exchange of information for tax purposes.”

“Mr. Speaker, the Federation has not only demonstrated its commitment to the promotion of the international standards by signing these exchange mechanisms,” he said, while adding that the twin-island Federation has honoured its obligations under the agreements when requested.

He strengthened his point by making reference to the assessment on the country’s legal and regulatory framework and implementation of the international standards in practice that was carried out by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information. Through this forum, St. Kitts and Nevis was rated as being largely compliant said Prime Minister Harris.

“This is one of the highest ranking, one notch below the apex ranking of fully compliant,” he said. “Since that assessment, we have seen an increase in the number of requests from our treaty partners to which we have endeavored to provide responses within the time frame that is stipulated in the international standards.  The experience that we have gained from processing these incoming requests have necessitated that we strengthen the Saint Christopher and Nevis (Mutual Exchange of Information on Taxation Matters) Act so that we, as a Federation, could be more efficient and effective in our practice of exchanging information for tax purposes with our treaty partners.”

The Act is also expected to enhance the Federation’s ability to effectively exchange information in accordance with the international standards.

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