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Thiswas again demonstrated on Tuesday, November 17, when the Team Unity-led Government passed the Saint Christopher and Nevis (Mutual Exchange of Information in Taxation Matters (Amendment) Bill, 2020, in the National Assembly.
PrimeMinister and Minister of Finance, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, who moved the Bill through the House, said the amendments to the bill brought about a change to the tax co-operation authority for the exchange of information for tax purposes.
“Under the said parent act, the Saint Christopher and Nevis (Mutual Exchange of Information in Taxation Matters (Amendment) Bill, 2020, the competent authority was the Financial Secretary. This Act seeks to put [the competent authority] to the source of the department that is involved in the provision of the information, and in that regard our Inland Revenue Department becomes the lead department of the Government to deal with these matters and accordingly, the Comptroller of Inland Revenue is now the competent authority,” Prime Minister Harris said.
Theprime minister added that the Government’s actions to date have demonstrated St. Kitts and Nevis’ continued commitment to promoting international standards for transparency and exchange of information for tax purposes and minimizing instances of tax evasion schemes operating from within our jurisdiction.
“As the international standards for tax transparency continue to change and expand, so have the obligations of our country and our people. Apart from responding to an increasing number of requests for information from treaty partners, and automatically providing information to the USA and a large number of other jurisdictions that have committed to the implementation of the automatic exchange of information under the rubric of the Common Reporting Standard (CRS), St. Kitts and Nevis is expected to respond in a timely manner to the evolving requirements of the OECD and the European Union. The country is further required to facilitate the various assessments that are undertaken by international bodies that are geared towards ascertaining the Federation’s level of compliance with the international standards,” Dr. Harris said.
Premierof Nevis and Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Honourable Mark Brantley, while giving his support to the legislation, noted that these actions taken may not always seem popular, but they are the decisions of a responsible government that is adamant in protecting the Federation’s reputation.
Theminister said, “I believe that this Bill, as simply as it is, is a further demonstration of the responsible way in which this Government continues to conduct its affairs. It is important for me to point out to the House and to the public that as I speak, St. Kitts and Nevis does not find itself on any list anywhere which suggests that we are uncooperative, either on the criminal side in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financial or on the tax side. This has not come about, Mr. Speaker, by chance. This has come about because there has been prudent, sensible, practical and responsible leadership in the Government on this matter, from the prime minister as Minister of Finance, but also through the relevant authorities including the Comptroller Mr. Gift.”
Earlierthis year, the Government established an International Taxation Unit, within the Inland Revenue Department, that will focus on all the requirements with respect to reporting on international tax matters.
TheInternational Tax Unit is headed by Adeola Moore, Assistant Comptroller. The other members of the unit are Fredericia Hodge from the Inland Revenue Department in St. Kitts, and Janesha Daniel from the Inland Revenue Department in Nevis.