Tenth tax deal done

| 23/06/2009

(CNS): The Cayman Islands now has ten bilateral tax information exchange agreements in place following a signing ceremony today in Berlin, where Leader of Government Business McKeeva Bush signed a deal which had been negotiated with the Republic of Ireland. This means that Cayman is now only two short of the twelve agreements required by the OECD to move it to the post G20 ‘white list’. According to today’s OECD progress report, Cayman remains on the ‘grey list’ of countries considered not to be fully co-operative.

Bush said he was pleased to sign the agreement with Ireland as it marked another important step towards the country’s commitment to international cooperation and OECD standards for transparency and exchange of information on tax matters. “This signing will commemorate the beginning of what I am sure will be a highly productive and mutually rewarding relationship between the Cayman Islands and Ireland,” Bush added.

He said that the newly formed ‘Negotiation Team’ had worked tirelessly to secure technical agreements quickly. “Our signing last week of a Double Taxation Agreement with the UK together with today’s signing is a direct result of their commitment and hard work. We look forward to continuing these efforts and I am confident that we will be on the OECD’s white list very soon.”

The deal with Ireland is as a result of negotiations begun in the last few weeks by the new government’s team and forms part of a list of potential other bilateral agreements with a number of OECD countries. Some negotiations were started under the previous adminsration in the wake of deals signed under the unilateral mechanism, which was not accepted by the OECD as fully compliant with its standards.

Signing on behalf of the Irish Government, Martin Mansergh, Minister of State at the Irish Department of Finance, said the TIEA was concrete evidence of the significant progress that has been made in recent months. “Ireland welcomes the commitment of the Cayman Islands to implement the OECD standards of transparency and exchange of information in tax matters and their willingness to enter into tax information exchange agreements,” he noted. “The signing of this agreement represents a new chapter in relations between Ireland and the Cayman Islands.”

Mansergh told the Irish press that the agreement would allow Ireland’s Revenue Commissioners to request information which is relevant to an Irish tax investigation directly from the authorities in the Cayman Islands. "Information that would typically be relevant is bank account information and beneficial ownership information for companies and other entities established in the Cayman Islands,” he added.

The Cayman Islands now has bilateral tax information agreements with the United States, United Kingdom, Denmark, Faroe Islands, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, Ireland, Norway and Sweden. The jurisdiction also has complimentary agreements with Germany, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Luxembourg, Slovak Republic and Switzerland under the Tax Information Authority Law passed late last year.

It is understood that the technical committee of the OECD had originally sanctioned the unilateral mechanism, but at some point before the G20 meeting where the white and grey lists were drawn up decided it would have to give further consideration to that particular method of signing agreements. The OECD did state in the notes that when the so-called lists were first published that it had acknowledged the use of this mechanism to consider revising Cayman’s position from the list.

However, since then Bermuda has been moved and in today’s progress report Cayman is still on the ‘grey list’, with the same note still in place but making it clear that the jurisdiction will have to continue on towards the goal of 12 bilateral deals. Bush said last week that he is aiming to sign agreements with all OECD countries but will have the all-important twelve by September.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Hello West Baya – 13:50. and  06/23/2009 – 14:58.


    Mr. Bush had 25 years to do this we should not have been under pressure from the start he was Leader before KT this should have been done already what have he done in 25 years….what have he spent the money on

    … All who hate PPM you drive on the roads they bulit…probably live in the decent affordable homes they built…and would certainly send your kids to the schools they built…


    • Anonymous - West Baya says:

      You’re forgetting one important thing. Kurt Tibbetts was the leader from 2000 – 2001 when Mac took over. Were we on the Black list or gray list between 2001 and 2008? No we got on the gray list in 2009 when Alden scurried to Geneva to try and sign agreements at the 11th hour. Wasn’t he following the news and realized if we didn’t have everything in place for the G20 summit we could possibly get on the black list? If he had acted as swiftly as Mac did after this election our financial sector would not be in te serious problem we’re in now.

      • Anonymous says:

        "You’re forgetting one important thing. Kurt Tibbetts was the leader from 2000 – 2001 when Mac took over. Were we on the Black list or gray list between 2001 and 2008? No we got on the gray list in 2009 when Alden scurried to Geneva to try and sign agreements at the 11th hour".

        I am afraid you need a little more information on these issues before posting.

        1. Cayman gave an advance commitment to the OECD to sign up TIEAs in May, 2000. As result we were taken off the OECD blacklist.

        2.  When Mr. Tibbetts  was LOGB 2000-2001 his govt. negotiated the most important TIEA – one with the U.S. 

        3. During Mr. Bush’s tenure as LOGB 2001-2005 no TIEAs were negotiated notwithstanding that Cayman had given the commitment to do so in 2000 and the process had already been started. 

        4. Once the threat of grey-listing was imminent the PPM Govt. did act swiftly. Mr. Tibbetts signed up 8 agreements in total by the time of the G20 meeting. Mr. Bush’s govt. zero. If Mr. Bush’s govt. had matched this we would not have been on the grey list at all. Clearly, Mr. Bush cannot claim,at this point, to be proactive by merely continuing the process already started by the PPM. 

        5. There is no hard evidence that we lost business as a result of grey-listing. White-listed territories like the Channel Islands are not necessarily seeing any great influx of business as a result of white-listing.         

  2. Anonymous says:

    Folks in Jersey and Isle of Man are laughing for sure. Cayman’s negotiators could not even secure the benefits which Ireland freely gave to Jersey and the Isle of Man. It would be funny if weren’t so pathetic.  

  3. Disgusted says:

    It is official. Cayman received no benefits whatsoever from the Ireland agreement. Nothing. Nada. Zilch.


    That is a first for MAC and his new "team". I think that they should be renamed the capitulation team because there is no evidence of any substantive negotiation whatsoever. God help Cayman because it is certain that this bunch will not


  4. Joe says:

    Careful Mr. Bush I hope you understand what your getting us into.   What will the OECD want us to sign next implement taxes on foreign investor and share the monies with the OECD and if we don’t we will be placed back on the Grey List (If we are ever taken off the Grey List)

    Mr. Bush here are somefacts that I found on the Internet that did not cost me no fancy consultant/s to find http://www.freedomandprosperity.org/oecd-facts/oecd-facts.shtml


  5. Hatty Tudor says:

    Most voters were tired about the PPM talking about doing things and wanted things done.  Mac does get things done.  That is why the electorate chose to wipe out the PPM.  KT would probably have spent a few more months coming out with lines like "first do no harm".

    These treaties may be a desperate attempt to save our financial services business from being wiped out, they may not work, but it is the best we can do.

    • Makam says:

      In reply to Hatty Tudor.

      First all the hard work was done by the PPM. The LOGB is merely signing the agreements. And more to the point I think the PPM had not finished working out all the negative ramifications that signing these agreements would incurr. The LOGB in his usual granstanding manner is not only taking all the credit (at the moment) but is rushing at it like a bull in a china shop. Wait until the problems (if any) arise from signing the agreements..then he will say it was all down to the PPM.

      The other question I have is where are you getting your figures from (or facts) that our financial industry is in so dire straits that we need take this (and I quote) "desperate attempt to save our financial service business from being wiped out, they may not work, but it is the best we can do".  You have not even considered the GLOBAL recession which will effect our country to some degree or other.

  6. Anonymous says:

    No-one should now have to wonder where Ken was instructed to suddenly re-allocated the $109m in cash reserves…………..to pay travel expenses for Mr. & Mrs. Mac and company to parade around the world on a three week vacation signing taxes treaties that the PPM negotiated long before May 20. There goes the $$ for the schools, for the new Gov’t Bldg, for the poor turtle farm & Cayman Airways………….now suddenly labelled as "cost overruns".

    Mr. Tibbetts when you meet with Finance Committee, don’t forget to ask to see the bill!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Well done to Alden and his team

  8. Anonymous says:

    Mac, the ultimate spin master, is really trying to take all of the credit for the progress made by the PPM Government.  I’m also prepared to wager that if these signings backfire on us, Mac will simply come out and say "I had to sign those deals but I didn’t want to do it.  The PPM had already given assurances to the OECD and there was nothing I could do to stop it. Ammmwe just need to promote inward investment and everything will be ok?"  

    He must really think we are all a bunch of idiots!

  9. Anonymous says:

    Hey Anon

    If Mckeeva signing a few agreements is getting your knickers in a wad I wonder what you will do when the Governor makes him the first ever Premier in the history of the Cayman Islands…

    Thats going to knock your sox off…..

  10. Anonymous says:

    me and you can afford our blackberrys and 4X4

    Reminds me of the biblical story of the man who sold his inheritance for a bowl of soup when he had other options. That man probably thought at the time that he had received appropriate benefits. 

  11. Anonymous says:

    I am not sure what the fuss is about. The people that will suffer the most as a result of "short term sign anything" thinking are not old enough to vote yet let alone make cash donations to the party.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Anonymous at 14.15

    "What benefits does Cayman get"

    Businesses get to keep their customers who are bullied by their own governments to not deal with black/grey listed countries for fear of suffering horrendous taxation at home. Therefore the cayman businesses keep ticking along, so they can retain their staff and ultimately the staff (i.e. me and you) can afford our blackberrys and 4X4.

  13. Wes' Bay-a says:

    ALDEN, its a shame that your gov’t did not stay in power long enough to reap the credit you all so deserve as a result of hard work and intensive negoiations.  Your gov’t has surely been extremely kind to the new gov’t of 2009 to set them in a position to be able to receive the credit for such efforts by MERELY signing a few TIEA’s.  Those of us that take the time to think, read, analyse and seek knowledge and understanding of how these tax agreements are created, are FULLY aware that the new gov’t of 2009 is MERELY finalising the agreement by MERELY signing it.  We know who ‘paved the road’ for these and we haven’t forgotten how many were signed during the years of 2001 to early 2005 – we can count all of them on one hand!!!

    Yours truly

    Wes’ Bay-a.


    • Anonymous - West Baya says:

      You know why PPM shouldn’t get any credit? They had four years to get all of these in place, they should not have waited until the week of the G20 to rush to get the few Alden did get signed, so "negotions" isn’t enough when you have four years to sign, seal and deliver!!!!!!! 

      • Anonymous says:

        "so negotions isn’t enough when you have four years to sign, seal and deliver!!!!!!!"

        The only problem with your argument is the UDP govt. also had 4 years (2001- 2005) to negotiate and sign agreements and did absolutely nothing. No negotiations, no signing. Nada. So much for being pro-active.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Benifits!! Probably a Big Mac with cheese…and a side of fries!

  15. Anonymous says:

    Mac has done in one month what the PPM couldn’t do in 4 years!

    I am so glad we voted in the UDP, and said ‘goodbye’ to the PPM!

  16. Anonymous says:

    What benefits did Cayman get?

  17. Anonymous says:

    Curious. According to Irish colleagues, the Irish Government appears to take a view that differs somewhat from the self-congratulations in today’s press release. It would appear that from their perspective Ireland and Cayman had put in place an exchange of information agreement back in March using the unilateral mechanism. If that is the case then perhaps today’s signing was just a formality in that earlier process, like the UK DTA signing was a few days ago. Here is the Irish press release.

    Does anybody know which negotiations this new team has started from scratch?
    • Anon says:

      Dear Curious, you are correct re the Irish perspective. Germany has also approved the unilateral mechanism as equivalent to a TIEA. The problem was the perspective of the OECD which is dragging its feet on approving the unilateral mechanism.