Guernsey’s latest TIEA was signed on Tuesday (21 July) by Guernsey’s Chief Minister Lyndon Trott and New Zealand Minister of Revenue, Peter Dunne. It is Guernsey’s 12th bilateral agreement signed with an OECD country and its 14th overall.
The UK Government heralded the signing as setting an example for other jurisdictions to follow. The UK Government hosted the G20 summit in April where the OECD listed Guernsey as a jurisdiction that had substantially implemented the internationally agreed standard and it has now welcomed the further progress in signing TIEAs, saying that this strengthened Guernsey’s reputation as a jurisdiction committed to good governance in tax matters.
Stephen Timms, the UK Government’s Financial Secretary to the Treasury, said: *“I warmly welcome Guernsey’s continuing progress in concluding Tax Information Exchange Agreements. Guernsey’s firm commitment to transparency and exchange of information in tax matters is very encouraging and I call on others to follow their example.”*
Mr Timms added that the UK Government recognises that Guernsey is committed to international standards of anti-money laundering legislation and practice, counter terrorist financing legislation and financial regulation, and that the Island participates in international efforts to combat financial crimes.
Guernsey’s Chief Minister Lyndon Trott welcomed the UK Government’s statement. He said: *“This latest agreement firmly puts Guernsey in the top-rated category in a report that the OECD is currently preparing in advance of the meeting of its Global Forum, which takes place in early September in Mexico.”*
The Chief Minister also welcomed the New Zealand Government’s statement, as part of a joint political declaration signed alongside the TIEA, heralding Guernsey *“as a member of the community of nations committed to international cooperation and information exchange on tax matters.”*
New Zealand Revenue Minister Dunne said: *“The Tax Information Exchange Agreement with Guernsey will help to encourage greater co-operation between tax authorities. I am very pleased with this important addition to New Zealand’s network of information exchange agreements.”*
Guernsey reportedly is well advanced in negotiations to sign further TIEAs with a number of countries in Europe and worldwide by the end of the year. Chief Minister Trott said: *“Our recognition by the G20 was an important milestone for Guernsey’s future as an international financial centre, but we have not stopped there. In addition to this agreement with New Zealand, Guernsey is continuing to negotiate the conclusion of TIEAs with many more countries and we will be signing further TIEAs in the coming months.”*
Unlike previous TIEAs, the agreement with New Zealand is a composite one, instead of there being separate agreements where additional benefits are agreed. The agreement covers exchange of information and the allocation of certain taxing rights for individuals, but each of the provisions is comparable to those in the other TIEAs signed by Guernsey. Guernsey will, on request, exchange bank and other information relating to both criminal and civil tax matters.
The Chief Minister added: *“Signing up to TIEAs demonstrates the island’s transparency and commitment as a premier international finance centre.”*
Also signed was a political joint declaration, further establishing the economic relationship between the governments of New Zealand and Guernsey. The island can expect to gain legislative recognition in New Zealand which it says will benefit the Guernsey finance industry.