Bermuda’s Deputy Premier and Minister of Finance Paula A. Cox announced today that Bermuda had signed a Tax Information Exchange Agreement (TIEA) with the Federal Republic of Germany, at a ceremony at the German Embassy in London. The treaty reportedly provides for a full exchange of information on criminal and civil tax matters between the two countries. The German Ambassador, the Hon. Georg Boomgaarden, was in attendance to sign the agreement for Germany.
Minister Cox said this was the 13 TIEA to be signed and that Bermuda has concluded its 16th TIEA negotiation with Japan. *”Today, Bermuda having signed 13 of its 16 concluded TIEA negotiations, has put clear water between Bermuda and those jurisdictions which only just made the international standard.
It sends a signal to the G20 and OECD that Bermuda, as a white listed jurisdiction, is committed to the OECD initiative and intends to exceed by the widest of margins the minimum standard of 12 TIEAs.”*
Last month, on June 8, Bermuda signed its 12th TIEA with the Netherlands and became the first country to ascend from the OECD grey list to the white list.
The signing with Germany included an exchange of letters that contained the following statement by Germany:
*”The Government of the Federal Republic of Germany welcomes the conclusion of the Agreement with the Government of Bermuda, which represents an important step in delivering the commitment it made to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in 2000 to respect the principles of transparency and exchange of information. The Government of the Federal Republic of Germany considers that the Agreement demonstrates Bermuda’s commitment to high standards for effective exchange of information with respect to both criminal and civil taxation matters. Germany also recognises the important progress that Bermuda has made in negotiation of Tax Information Exchange Agreements with other countries and recognises that Bermuda is committed to combating tax evasion by putting in place mechanisms which enhance transparency. By entering into the Agreement Bermuda is not considered to be engaging in any harmful tax practises and thus being not referred to as a tax haven.”*
Minister Cox responded by saying that Bermuda would continue to build upon the enormous benefits of being placed on the OECD white list and no longer named by the OECD as a tax haven. She said, *”We welcome the affirmation from Germany that Bermuda is not considered to be engaging in any harmful tax practices and are not now – nor have we ever been – a tax haven.”*
The Minister also noted that it is Bermuda’s objective to conclude TIEAs with all of the G7 countries, together with other important international trading and commercial partners. *”With today’s signing, we have taken a big step closer to our goal. We have underlined, yet again, our commitment to supporting the OECD initiative to implement standards of information exchange and transparency and we shall continue to work assiduously to strengthen worldwide tax cooperation,”* she said.
Bermuda, she said, has a long-standing commitment to the principles of fair tax competition and international co-operation that extends back to 1988 when Bermuda signed a TIEA with its largest trading partner, the United States of America.
In addition to Germany, Bermuda has agreements with the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, the seven member Nordic Group and the Netherlands. It has concluded negotiations with Mexico, Canada and Japan.