St. Kitts-Nevis wants to be off ‘grey list’

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts & Nevis: Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas says the nation is negotiating Tax Information Exchange Agreements (TIEAs) with several nations, including Canada, in order to be removed from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) ‘grey list’ of tax havens.

“St. Kitts and Nevis is not among those countries unfortunate enough to have been placed on the strangely-named ‘black list’,” said Dr. Douglas. “At any rate, one of the key objectives of my government is the establishment of double taxation agreements that would prevent foreign nationals who invest here from also being taxed in their own countries.

“I am pleased to report, because of the impact that this will have on our ability to continue to attract foreign investors, that a number of the above-mentioned countries have already offered to enter into supplemental agreements to this effect.”

At a meeting in London in April, the OECD released a list that included a ‘black list’ of countries that had not committed to the OECD project to eliminate harmful tax practices; a ‘grey list’ of countries that had made commitments but had not yet entered into the minimum number of Tax Information Exchange Agreements to be deemed to have substantially met the standard; and a ‘white list’ of countries that have met the OECD standard for tax information exchange.

St. Kitts and Nevis needs to sign TIEAs with at least 12 OECD countries in order to be removed from the grey list.

Under the twin-island federation’s anti-money laundering framework, information for criminal tax evasion matters can be shared with any country making an appropriate request through the Financial Intelligence Unit.

“One area that is being looked at carefully is the domestic laws in place with these soon to be treaty partners which provide relief from double taxation for their residents who make investments in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis,” said Shawna Lake, Chief Executive Officer of the St. Kitts Investment Promotion Agency.

Lake said the laws are important because they help insure that the country’s investments are not affected by its cooperation in tax matters with its treaty partners.

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