Bahamas does not expect to be named in US Stop Taxation Legislation, says Bahamas PM

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad – Reaffirming that there is no justification for the United States to name The Bahamas in a stop taxation bill, Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Hubert Ingraham said The Bahamas does not expect that its name will appear in such legislation at the end of the day.

At the 5th Summit of the Americas in Port of Spain, Trinidad Saturday, leaders of the Caribbean Community (Caricom) met with members of the US House of Representatives Financial Services Committee and a Congressional delegation led by Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee Charles Rangel and Chairman of the Western Hemisphere Subcommittee Eliot Engel on the United States’ stop taxation initiative.

The initiative is an effort to prevent US citizens from using offshore jurisdictions to avoid or evade paying taxes owed to the US government. Such an initiative could affect The Bahamas to the extent that legislation including The Bahamas on a list of countries regarded as tax havens could negatively affect the country’s reputation as a place to invest and do business.

Mr. Ingraham said, “The US Congressmen were not able to provide a justification for [The Bahamas being named]. There is no justification for the Americans to put The Bahamas in a stop taxation Bill – the facts do not square with that. We expect therefore that at the end of the day our name will not appear in any such legislation.”

Prime Minister Ingraham said he previously wrote to Congressman Rangel on The Bahamas’ position, and had also written on behalf of Caricom at the Community’s request.

“I think he gave us sufficient assurances about the Bill to cause most of our members to be comfortable,” Mr. Ingraham advised. “There will be some additional discussions with the Congress.”

Calling the stop taxation initiative “misguided” insofar as The Bahamas is concerned, Prime Minister Ingraham explained: “We have cooperated with the United States fully, we have a tax information exchange agreement with them, the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) would all certify that all requests made in The Bahamas have been responded to appropriately.”

Mr. Ingraham advised that negotiations on a Tax Information Exchange Agreement (TIEA) with Canada and other countries are currently underway.

Caricom met in bilateral talks with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Saturday.
During those talks, Prime Minister Harper announced that Canada would make 160 additional scholarships for Caribbean students to study at colleges and universities there, Mr. Ingraham said.

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