THE Commonwealth of the Bahamas and Canada have signed a Tax Information Exchange Agreement, strengthening an already established culture of co-operation, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Brent Symonette announced.
Mr Symonette and Canadian High Commissioner to the Bahamas Stephen Hallihan signed the TIEA at a ceremony on Thursday at the House of Assembly.
It was the 22nd such agreement signed by the Bahamas - 16 with Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries and nine with members of the G-20.
"The government of the Bahamas is satisfied that its expanding network for tax information exchange proves the Bahamas' ability to benefit from the changing global regulatory environment and to enjoy continued growth in its international business industry," Mr Symonette said. He said that the government welcomes the TIEA agreement with Canada, a fellow Commonwealth country and member of the OECD Global Forum. He thanked the Canadian negotiators for completing the negotiations in a collaborative and co-operative manner.
The Bahamas, he said, takes particular note of its long-standing economic links Canada stemming back over a century, which have provided mutual benefits for both countries, particularly in financial services and the hospitality sector.
"The Bahamas has also enjoyed a long-standing relationship with Canada in the area of judicial co-operation in respect of cross-border criminal activity, under our Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty, which has been in place since the late 1990s.
"The TIEA between our two countries provides an important complementary addition to an already established, robust base of cooperation," he said.
Once the agreement enters into force, it will extend exempt surplus treatment to dividends paid to a Canadian parent corporation by its foreign affiliates resident and carrying on business in the Bahamas, allowing such dividends to be exempted from tax in Canada.
"The Bahamas looks forward to the continued expansion of its economic relationship with Canada, as nations committed to the effective implementation of accepted international standards for financial regulation and cross-border cooperation; and from this new base forge even stronger links within the scope of the new global financial norms," Mr Symonette said.
High Commissioner Hallihan said that these agreements are an important part of a commitment that has been made to many countries around the world, to bring about transparency and effectiveness to international financial systems and to tax regimes which cross borders.
"In that regard, Canada is very pleased to be signing this exchange agreement with the government of the Bahamas. It will, quite simply, make our taxation regimes more transparent, more effective and it will allow both countries to actually more effectively implement the tax systems that we have in place," he said. "It also sends a very a powerful signal to other communities that responsible governments such as the one here and in our Canada, insist on due diligence being undertaken when it comes to issues of taxation and financial regulations."
The High Commissioner said that it is also just another sign of how strong the relationship is between Canada and the Bahamas, regarded as one of its strongest partners in the region.
The Bahamas has signed Tax Information Exchange Agreements with: the United States of America, the Principality of Monaco, the Republic of San Marino, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, the People's Republic of China, Argentina, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Mexico, Denmark, The Faroe Islands, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Spain, Australia, and Germany.
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