Cayman and Switzerland level on TIEAs

| 16/07/2009

(CNS): Having agreed a new tax treaty on Wednesday with its European neighbour Austria, Switzerland now has the same number of Tax Information Exchange Agreements in place as the Cayman Islands which signed its 11th deal with the Netherlands in The Hague last week. Both Cayman and Switzerland are now one short of the twelve deals which the OECD had said would be the minimum requirement to remove jurisdictions from the ‘grey’ to the ‘white’ list of what are defined as cooperative countries.

The list was part of a naming and shaming of tax havens by the G20 nations in April of this year and has been at the centre of the international debate raging about the secrecy within the offshore sector since. Cayman went into the April G20 meeting with eight bi-lateral agreements in place but the previous administration had hoped the OECD would consider the 2008 legislation which had been passed to enable Cayman to sign unilateral agreements as and when required with other jurisdictions

Following the G20 meeting however, the OECD placed Cayman among other jurisdictions on the grey list and made a foot note that it would give the unilateral mechanism some consideration.

Since coming to office in May 2009 the new United Democratic Party Government has signed deals with Ireland, the UK and more recently Holland brining the total of deals to eleven. The first ever deal was signed in 2001 with the United States and another seven were signed in 2008 with Denmark, Faroe Islands, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, Ireland, Norway and Sweden.

Switzerland has so far initialled double-taxation treaties with Denmark, Luxembourg, Norway, France, Mexico, the United States, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland and Great Britain, according to a statement by the Swiss Finance Ministry. Luxembourg also stated that it had been removed from the grey list earlier this week it had been removed from the OECD list [IDn:nL8626056]. Belgium was also reportedly removed from the grey list this week after signing its twelfth agreement.


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  1. Anonymous says:

    Cayman and Switzerland could sign one with each other.  That would give them 12 each!

  2. Anonymous says:

    They can fool some of the people some of the time but with the international nature of the business and communications they cannot fool all of us all of the time – at least until they impose press censurship.

    As a previous post noted, Cayman clearly would have been on the white list except for the intervention of the new government which is desparate to secure credit at whatever cost. However, despite what the government is saying locally, the word out of Europe is that the OECD will approve the unilateral mechanism in their meeting in Mexico in the first week of September – at the same time that they move the goal posts by adding conditions relating to peer review and satisfactory implementation.

    Keep up the objective reporting CNS and don’t be bullied.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Bet they make the white list but we don’t.

  4. Anonymous says:

    There is an important distinction, especially when the goal posts continue to move. The Swiss, Belgians and Luxembourgois are showing intelligence and an understanding of what will be required to secure the future of their citizens.

    Switzerland, Luxembourg and Belgium are not signing TIEAs like Cayman is. They are all modifying existing full tax treaties which secure the future for their citizens. The panic induced agreement signed by Cayman last week appears to be the first negotiated by the new government as it provides Caymanians with no benefits. Hopefully subsistence farming is being added to the school curriculum by the people who are signing off on such poorly thought out agreements.