#Bahamas, October 20, 2017 – Nassau – Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Hon. Peter Turnquest said tax evasion and avoidance are common problems experienced by many Jurisdictions, and erodes the basis of tax systems and destroys the reputation of legitimate and credible international financial centres.
DPM Turnquest was speaking at the signing ceremony of the Protocol to Amend the Tax Information Exchange Agreement between the Government of The Bahamas and the Government of the Republic of Finland concerning information on tax matters held at the Ministry of Finance, Thursday, October 19, 2017. Ambassador of Finland to the Caribbean His Excellency Jukka Pietikäinen signed on behalf of the European nation.
DPM Turnquest said, “By the implementation of the Common Reporting Standard, The Bahamas shows its intent on remaining a well regulated, compliant and legitimate International Financial Centre with a strong Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Counter-Financing of Terrorism (CFT) regime.”
On March 10, 2010 The Bahamas signed a Tax Information Exchange Agreement with the Government of the Republic of Finland concerning information on tax matters in Paris, France.
In 2014, The Bahamas committed to implementing the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD’s) Global Forum Common Reporting Standard (CRS) for the automatic exchange of financial account information, thereby demonstrating the commitment to greater tax cooperation transparency and exchange of information for tax purposes.
The DPM also noted that The Bahamas Automatic Exchange Financial Account Information Act came into force on January 1, 2017, and the Automatic Exchange Financial Account Information (AEOI) Regulations 2017 was approved and brought into force on March 7, 2017. He said that The Bahamas extends congratulations to the Republic of Finland as it commenced its exchanges last month.
“The Bahamas will commence exchanging financial account information with its AEOI partners in September 2018. By signing this Protocol today, The Bahamas and the Republic of Finland will now be AEOI partners.”
DPM Turnquest said it is noteworthy to mention that at the onset, The Bahamas chose the OECD Global Forum’s Bilateral Approach as a method of automatically exchanging information; however, on May 29, 2017, The Bahamas Government formally indicated to the organisation, its interest in becoming a Party to the Multi-lateral Convention for Mutual Assistance on tax matters.
“The Bahamas will continue assisting and cooperating with Jurisdictions in the effort to deter and prevent tax evasion and avoidance and increase transparency and exchange of information for tax purposes.”
His Excellency Pietikäinen said interesting developments have occurred between the two countries since The Bahamas and the Republic of Finland initiated Diplomatic Relations almost 12 years ago. One such project involves The Bahamas Government utilising weather radar systems made by a Republic of Finland company, and training on the systems will be done by the Finnish Meteorological Institute.
By: Llonella Gilbert (BIS)