HAMILTON, Bermuda — Bermuda’s Premier and Minister of Finance Paula Cox announced on Wednesday that Bermuda and the Czech Republic treaty negotiating teams met this week in Bermuda to complete negotiations on the text of a bilateral agreement on exchange of information on tax matters (TIEA).
The text of the TIEA now has to be approved by the respective Ministers of Finance of the Czech Republic and Bermuda before it can be scheduled for signing later this year.
The negotiated text follows generally the OECD model TIEA and will provide for a full exchange of information on criminal and civil tax matters between the two countries. It includes provisions to protect the confidentiality of information provided, as well as adhering to public policy, provisions related to protecting legal privilege, and to ensure that requests for information from the Czech Republic are relevant to tax investigations being conducted by Czech Republic authorities.
Additionally in keeping with the internally agreed tax standard reflected in the OECD Model TIEA the negotiated text between the Czech Republic and Bermuda does not create an obligation on the contracting parties to obtain or provide ownership information with respect to publicly traded companies or public collective investment funds or schemes unless such information can be obtained without giving rise to disproportionate difficulties.
Bermuda’s Ministry of Finance (Treaty Unit) welcomed the delegation of the Central Financial and Tax Directorate of the Ministry of Finance of the Czech Republic and the meetings included discussions on a number of issues of common interest.
Commenting on the negotiations, Cox said she was delighted the treaty negotiating teams of Bermuda and the Czech Republic had finalised negotiation of the text of the TIEA.
”The Czech Republic is a remarkable country at the center of European commerce and an important member of the European Union and the OECD. Bermuda is pleased to open this chapter of a formalized relationship between our two countries,” she said.
Cox continued, “Negotiating these TIEAs honours the commitment that both countries have made to uphold the internationally agreed tax standard advanced by the G20 and the OECD and as such it also serves to safeguard Bermuda’s reputation as a respected international financial center. It underpins our continued attraction as a domicile to international business which is so key to our economy and benefits all Bermudians. In these difficult economic times TIEAs have their role in protecting what we have and positions us to continue to grow the international business sector. At the same time, it allows us to apply resources to work to diversify our economy.”
“Bermuda, in its capacity as a Vice Chair of the Steering Group of the OECD Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes works closely with the Czech Republic, delegates from the Czech Republic are expected to visit Bermuda this May 31st when Bermuda hosts the 2011 OECD Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for tax Purposes,” Cox added.