As published on barbadostoday.bb, Thursday 4 March, 2021.
Officials in the international business sector in Bridgetown are in a wait and see mode as they expect the United Kingdom to issue its own blacklist of tax havens.
Word of this has come from Kevin Hunte, Director of International Business in the International Business Division, who noted that through the economic development agency Invest Barbados, a lobbyist has been put in place and has been engaging the European Union in relation to its blacklist.
“We have engaged the services of a lobbyist and they are helping us tremendously in terms of engagement within the EU,” Hunte told a recent online Institute of Chartered Accountants of Barbados (ICAB) tax update seminar.
“I would say there has been a high-level engagement with the Prime Minister and some others. We had that engagement on Monday, the very day we came off the list. So we are attacking imaging and messaging within the EU from both the political side and the technical side,” Hunte said.
Barbados was removed from the EU Council’s blacklist of jurisdictions for non-compliance last week.
The EU Council had placed the island on its blacklist last year, following a peer review by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes, which rated Barbados as “partially compliant”.
Barbados is due a supplementary review by the OECD’s Global Forum sometime this year.
As is relates to a possible blacklist out of the UK, that is no longer a part of the EU bloc, Hunte said this was something that was possible, but he was unable to say what such a list would look like or what areas could be targeted.
“Right now we are in the wait and see mode. I would imagine that given the construct of the EU, it would no longer treat the UK as within its bloc. So I am not too sure whether it will label the UK as a third jurisdiction. What I can tell you though, is that our information suggests that the UK is set to bring out its own listing shortly,” said Hunte.
“So we are looking to see what that listing will be about and what it will say and what the inter-play is going to be between the UK and the UE, and naturally of course, Barbados,” said the tax negotiator, who added: “I would like Barbados to put out our own list, but I don’t know if that would get any traction.”
Within the global business sector, Barbados is considered a low tax jurisdiction, with a maximum of 5.5 per cent.