Yesterday, the Honourable House of Assembly passed the Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information Bill, 2016 with the unanimous support of all Parliamentarians. This Bill, which provides for the implementation of [The Common Reporting Standard](http://www.oecd.org/ctp/exchange-of-tax-information/Automatic-Exchange-Financial-Account-Information-Common-Reporting-Standard.pdf) (CRS), will now move on to the Senate (The Upper House of Parliament) for debate and passing before it becomes law. The process is expected to be completed before Parliament breaks for the Christmas holidays.
The Bill was moved in the House by the Minister of State for Finance, the Hon. Michael Halkitis, M.P., who has oversight of The Competent Authority. In his communication to the House, Minister Halkitis restated The Bahamas’ commitment to transparency and international cooperation. The Hon. C.V. Hope Strachan, M.P., Minister of Financial Services, seconded the Bill.
Minister Strachan thanked industry stakeholders for their cooperation in this important initiative, noting that industry will be formally advised shortly of the countries with which The Bahamas intends to negotiate. A working draft of the accompanying Regulations to the new legislation is under review, with expectations that industry will be briefed and given the opportunity to provide feedback before they are finalised.
Bruno Roberts and Ivan Hopper, Co-Chairs of The Association of International Banks and Trust Companies in The Bahamas (AIBT), and BFSB’s CEO & Executive Director Tanya McCartney were present in Parliament for the tabling and passing of the legislation. Ms. McCartney says, *”Yesterday was an important milestone in the process to implement The Common Reporting Standard. We commend Minister Strachan and her team at The Ministry of Financial Services (the project lead on this initiative), the staff of The Office of the Attorney General, and The Ministry of Finance who actively engaged industry in this process.”*
PDF of Bill below.