Wednesday 22 May, 2019

BATT warns of negative implications after EU blacklists T&T

The Bankers Association of Trinidad and Tobago (BATT) is calling on the Government to treat with urgency the laying of legislation to ensure that Trinidad and Tobago is tax compliant with the European Union's Directive.

BATT's comment comes as T&T was named one of 17 tax haven countries by the European Union. 

Addressing the issue, the Association urged the Government to table the legislation as early as possible in the new year and further called on the Opposition to cooperate in order to avoid further implications to the country and local banking sector.

In further expressing its concern, BATT said it was worried that the fall out of being classed as a "non-cooperative" jurisdiction could lead to a possible de-risking of local banks, additional customer due diligence requirements, multi-national banks reconsidering their position in T&T's domestic market and increased delays and costs of doing business in Trinidad and Tobago.

BATT also noted that the label could negatively impact the rating profile of T&T's banking institutions by correspondent banks, attracting censure by global counterpart banking institutions.

The Association said the banking sector is sound, properly regulated and will continue to fulfill its mandatory reporting requirements and remains in support of any tax compliant legislation required for the country.

Noting that the EU will be reviewing the list annually, BATT said it is imperative that the country meets the transparency standards and implements anti-profit shifting measures set out by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in the shortest possible time frame. 

The items of legislation to be passed are:

1 Amendments to the Income Tax Act, Chapter 75:01 to provide for the sharing of information under a number of double taxation agreements.

2 The Passing of the Double Taxation Agreements Bill, addressing Trinidad and Tobago’s seventeen (17) signed Double Taxation Treaties and agreements to allow for incorporation of exchange of information provisions entered into between Trinidad and Tobago and any other country.

3 The Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matter Bill

BATT said once the first two Bills are passed then the OECD members may agree to Trinidad and Tobago’s membership to the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Assistance on Tax Matters (MAC), which would lay the foundation for the enactment of the Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matter Bill.

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