Archive for the ‘international agreements’ Category

Cayman issues Guidance on Compliance with CbC Reporting, FATCA, CRS

Tuesday, April 10th, 2018

New guidance on the obligation on large multinational groups to file a country-by-country report in the jurisdiction and also an update on Common Reporting Standard and US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act reporting have been released by the Cayman Islands.

On March 29, guidance was released by the Cayman Islands’ Department for International Tax Cooperation (DITC) alongside the release of:

– The CbCR Notification Template (in CSV format);
– The Authorisation Letter Template; and
– The CbC XML Schema User Guide (Draft).

The guidance provides an overview of the OECD’s recommendations and of the Cayman law underpinning the CbC reporting regime (the Tax Information Authority Law (2017 Revision)), explains the obligation to notify which entity will file the CbC report, sets out the filing deadlines, how to complete the CbC report, and how the Cayman Islands intends to share the information required multilaterally.

The Cayman Islands recently pushed forward the deadline for filing CbC reports. The deadline was March 31, 2018, for those groups with fiscal years beginning in 2016 between January 1 to March 31, 2016. It was then required within 12 months of the end of any fiscal year, for those fiscal years beginning after March 31, 2016. The Ministry of Financial Services and Home Affairs has now announced the following: “A Reporting Entity resident in the islands must make its first CbC Report by May 31, 2018, if the CbCR Regulations require it to make its first CbC Report on or before May 31, 2018.” This provides additional flexibility specifically for those whose fiscal period begins in the first five months of the year.

In a separate announcement, the DITC announced that it has reopened the automatic exchange of information (AEOI) portal for notification and reporting in relation to the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) and the Common Reporting Standard (CRS).

The deadlines are:

– April 30, 2018 for notification (i.e. enrollment);
– May 31, 2018, for reporting for the 2017 calendar year.

Budget of Cayman targets Budget Surpluses

Saturday, November 4th, 2017

The Cayman Islands’ Premier, Alden McLaughlin, recently delivered the Cayman Islands’ first 2-year budget, which was notable for the absence of new borrowing or revenue-raising measures.

According to McLaughlin, his administration will continue to pay down debt and deliver operational budget surpluses to fund capital investment plans and provide for contingency against future economic shocks. He noted that taking the path of “fiscal responsibility” is crucial to giving businesses the confidence to invest in the jurisdiction.

Measures introduced previously to support economic growth will be maintained, including reduced import duties, lower business licensing fees, development concessions, and other measures to support small business. Also, the Government has committed to slashing at least 25% of regulations hindering small business.

McLaughlin reported on his recent visit to Brussels ahead of the EU’s planned year-end announcement to name jurisdictions it considers are not complying with global tax good governance standards. He said he explained about the reasons for the territory’s tax regime focusing on indirect taxes instead of direct taxes and outlined how the territory complies with OECD regulations, which he said places it in the same league as Germany, Canada, and the UK.

McLaughlin explained that the Cayman Islands has no double tax treaties allowing for the shifting of tax liabilities, and that businesses operating in the territory understand their obligation to pay taxes due in their home jurisdictions.

Cayman-registered beneficial owners accessible to UK

Tuesday, July 4th, 2017

In the beginning of July, the new legislation came into effect in the Cayman Islands that will allow UK law enforcement authorities to access details of the beneficial owners of all financial entities registered in thejurisdiction.

The new technology-based system enhancement to the beneficial ownership regime will allow those with legitimate rights or reasons to have access to do so in a more efficient and timely fashion, with speed being the crucial point. The information is not in a central public register but this is a platform allowing direct access to the RCIPS Financial Crimes Unit so they can respond to requests.

Officials said a system had been in place for more than 15 years that provided beneficial ownership information to the United Kingdom and other countries through legal means, but the new system will increase the speed in which that information is provided.

However, the government has insisted that the system is not very different from the process in place for many years but the efficiency improvement satisfies the UK’s demand for immediate access in criminal cases.

“Financial crime is a serious global problem that requires a unified global response,” Rivers said. “As a jurisdiction, the Cayman Islands continues to play a significant role on international regulatory issues and for implementing global practices to fight financial crime; we have been recognised for decades as a strong international partner in combating corruption, money laundering and tax evasion.”

The UK wanted to have this access back in 2015. As a result, Cayman and the UK agreed in April 2016 to improve the exchange of beneficial ownership information, as outlined in a document called the Exchange of Notes and Technical Protocol. All UK Overseas Territories entered into similar agreements. Since then, Cayman has passed amended legislation, new regulations and guidance notes for industry in order to provide the legal framework upon which the system was enhanced.

Switzerland to implement AEOI Agreement with Cayman

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017

The Swiss Federal Department of Finance (FDF) has launched a consultation on the introduction of the automatic exchange of information (AEOI) in tax matters with a series of countries including the Cayman Islands.

Besides the Cayman Islands, the countries to implement AEOI agreements include such jurisdictions as the Seychelles, the British Virgin Islands, Bermuda, the Faroe Islands, Mexico , etc.

The consultation will run until March 15, 2017. The AEOI with these countries is to enter into force on January 1, 2018, with the first exchanges to take place in 2019.

Switzerland expects that extending the network of AEOI partner states will help strengthen the competitiveness, credibility, and integrity of Switzerland’s financial center.
Switzerland to implement AEOI Agreement with Cayman

The Swiss Federal Department of Finance (FDF) has launched a consultation on the introduction of the automatic exchange of information (AEOI) in tax matters with a series of countries including the Cayman Islands.

Besides the Cayman Islands, the countries to implement AEOI agreements include such jurisdictions as the Seychelles, the British Virgin Islands, Bermuda, the Faroe Islands, Mexico , etc.

The consultation will run until March 15, 2017. The AEOI with these countries is to enter into force on January 1, 2018, with the first exchanges to take place in 2019.

Switzerland expects that extending the network of AEOI partner states will help strengthen the competitiveness, credibility, and integrity of Switzerland’s financial center.

Cayman Finance supports Enhancements to Cayman’s Beneficial Ownership System

Monday, April 18th, 2016

Cayman Finance said it supported the Cayman Islands Government in its announcement made on April 11, when the signing of an agreement by the Cayman Islands and the United Kingdom on the enhancements to its existing beneficial ownership system was announced.

This was revealed at a media conference in Grand Cayman by the Cayman Islands Premier Hon. Alden McLaughlin and Chief Officer, Dr Dax Basdeo.

Mr Jude Scott, Cayman Finance CEO said Cayman Finance appreciated working in collaboration with the Cayman Islands Government to bring a high level of expertise to negotiations with the UK. He expressed his pleasure that the UK Government has recognised that Cayman licensed corporate services provider verified beneficial ownership system is a world class system that provides for due diligence know-your-customer checks which are vitally important to proper law enforcement authorities and is superior to other proposed systems. He added: “Whilst there are already agreements in place that allow UK law enforcement agencies to request and obtain beneficial ownership information for the Cayman Islands, we have agreed to an enhancement to that system which will help the UK law enforcement agencies access that information with the utmost urgency, but in a way that is also appropriate for our jurisdiction. This is not a public central register.”
Mr Scott said that beneficial ownership information details will remain with the corporate service providers managing them and information will be accessed via a central technical platform. The enhancements are in line with global standards and the position of the UK.

He said that for over 40 years the Cayman Islands had played a leading role in the fight against illegal activities and tax evasion. “Industry and government have worked side-by-side to implement a legal infrastructure that promotes effective transparency and cross border cooperation with law enforcement that meets, and in some cases exceeds, international regulatory standards and comparable regimes in G20 countries,” he commented.

Brazil Concludes Four New TIEAs

Monday, November 16th, 2015

The Government of Brazil has submitted to Congress the tax information exchange agreement (TIEA) concluded with the Cayman Islands. This was announced by Brazil’s Ministry of Finance said on November 11, 2015.

Cayman has signed TIEA with Brazil in 2013, but it then had to come into force.

Brazilian wealth uses Cayman funds in complex environment

Thursday, October 29th, 2015

The use of Cayman Islands funds as a wealth management tool for high net worth Latin American families was debated last week at the STEP LatAm Conference in Brazil.

Outbound investments are attractive for Brazil’s wealthy for many reasons, such as protection against political risk and the risk of holding assets in the local currency. Privacy and security protection is a huge concern in Brazil as the threat of kidnap and even murder is just an everyday part of doing business there. The stories about wealthy executives driving around in old, beaten up cars to avoid drawing attention to themselves are true and they are a good reason to seek asset protection offshore.

While Latin America presents significant opportunities for offshore firms to expand services into this fast growth region, structuring deals though Cayman for Brazilian investors, particularly downstream M&A from the explosion in private equity money, is not always straightforward. Exchange controls and other regulations on the movement of money in many Latin American countries complicate matters and Cayman’s Tax Information Exchange Agreement (TIEA) network in the region, while taking shape, is not complete.

As Andrew Miller, partner with Walkers, explained in his presentation on ‘Information Exchange from a Cayman Perspective’, Cayman has currently signed TIEA with Brazil as well as with Argentina Mexico. While the Argentinian and Mexican agreements came into force in 2012, the 2013 agreement with Brazil has yet to. Brazil also still classifies the Cayman Islands as a tax haven or “fiscal paradise”.

Nicholas Pattman, senior counsel at Walkers, said: “As the leading offshore investment funds jurisdiction, the Cayman Islands’ fund products, its legal and regulatory framework and the quality of its service providers continue to ensure it is the offshore jurisdiction of choice for Brazil”.

Italy removes Cayman from its Black Lists

Monday, April 6th, 2015

Italy has removed the Cayman Islands from its “black list” because the jurisdiction already has the Tax Information Exchange Agreement (TIEA) in effect.

On April 1, Italy’s Minister of the Economy and Finance, Pier Carlo Padoan, signed two decrees that modify Italy’s “black lists”. The two decrees follow the guidelines laid down in Italy’s 2015 Stability (Budget) Law. The Stability Law specified another black list under which expenses incurred in transactions with residents in a jurisdiction would not be deductible.

The “non-deductibility of costs” list now therefore includes 46 tax jurisdictions, while 21 including the Cayman Islands have been cancelled as already having TIEAs in effect. Also, Alderney, Guernsey, Jersey, the Isle of Man, Gibraltar, the British Virgin Islands, Anguilla, the Netherlands Antilles, Aruba, Belize, Bermuda, Costa Rica, the United Arab Emirates, the Philippines, the Cayman Islands, the Turks and Caicos Islands, Malaysia, Mauritius, Montserrat, and Singapore have been removed from the black list.

Cayman Islands to sign TIEA with Colombia

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

The Cayman Islands and Colombia are to sign a Tax Information Exchange Agreement (TIEA) on July 1, 2014.

This will be Cayman’s 36th such agreement, and the 3rd one signed by the jurisdiction in 2014, with the Seychelles agreement being signed in February and an agreement with Belgium signed in April. Negotiations are currently underway with an additional 14 nations.

The TIEA will be in accordance with global regulatory standards.

The Tax Information Exchange Agreement between Cayman and Colombia is notable, as through this agreement, Colombia has recognised that the Cayman Islands is a jurisdiction of such significant transparency and regulatory standards to order its removal from Colombia’s Tax Haven List (Non-Cooperative Jurisdictions). Both jurisdictions have committed to the early adoption of the OECD’s Common Reporting Standard for automatic exchange of information, and are both members of the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes.

Insurance Managers Association of Cayman (IMAC) Chairperson Rob Leadbetter said: “We view Latin America, and Colombia in particular, as a solid market in the captive insurance space. This TIEA coming into effect reinforces Cayman as a viable option for Colombian companies looking for self-insurance alternatives as well as for investment funds and trusts. With only a handful of jurisdictions on this white-list, we are well-positioned to offer a valuable service to these companies.”

Cayman and US sign FATCA Agreement

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

The Department of the Treasury has announced that the United States has signed intergovernmental agreements (IGAs) with the Cayman Islands and Costa Rica to implement the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA).

To address situations where foreign law would prevent an FFI from of entering into an agreement directly with the IRS, Treasury has developed model IGAs. Signed on November 29, the IGA between the US and Cayman is the Model 1B version, meaning that FFIs in Cayman will be required to report tax information about US account holders directly to the Cayman Islands Tax Information Authority, which is the sole channel in Cayman for the provision of tax-related information to other governments. The Cayman Islands Tax Information Authority will in turn relay that information to the IRS.

Also, the United States and the Cayman Islands signed a new tax information exchange agreement (TIEA), to take the place of the original agreement signed in 2001.

The signing of the agreements was held in London, immediately after Cayman officials participated in the UK’s Joint Ministerial Council of Overseas Territories. Cayman’s Minister of Financial Services, Wayne Panton, welcomed the two new agreements and noted that the Cayman Islands is the first Overseas Territory to sign a FATCA agreement with the United States. He said: “Our participation in globally accepted transparency and tax information exchange initiatives speaks volumes of our financial services integrity”.