BRUSSELS, Belgium — The British Virgin Islands (BVI) co-chaired an international tax cooperation workshop from 29-30 May in Brussels, Belgium, facilitated by the OECD on behalf of the Overseas Countries and Territories Association (OCTA).
The meeting focused largely on the mechanics of international tax cooperation and covered a range of subjects that included the Global Forum, base erosion and profit shifting inclusive framework, exchange of information on request, automatic exchange of information and the OECD blacklisting process, among other things.
The BVI’s EU representative, Benito Wheatley, who serves as the chair of the OCTA financial services working group and co-chair of the OCT/EU financial services working party, co-chaired Day 1 of the workshop alongside OECD head of delegation Andrew Auerbach, special advisor to Pascal Saint Amans, director of the Centre for Tax Policy and Administration at the OECD.
Deputy director of the BVI London Office, Dr Sandra Besson, also made an opening presentation on the Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) and international tax cooperation to provide participants with context for the workshop.
Day 2 was co-chaired by Neil Smith, the BVI government’s executive director for international business regulation and BVI representative on the OECD’s Global Forum Steering Committee, alongside OECD tax policy advisors Juva Jani and Lu-Shen Qua.
The workshop concluded with a roundtable discussion between the participating jurisdictions and the European Commission on the EU’s list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes.
The jurisdictions that participated include Aruba, BVI, Cayman, Curacao, Falkland Islands, French Polynesia, Greenland, Montserrat, New Caledonia, St Maarten and Turks and Caicos Islands.
Commenting on the meeting in Brussels, Wheatley said, “I am very pleased with the success of the workshop, which BVI steered from within OCTA from inception to execution. We are very grateful to the OECD as the global standard setting body on tax for their support to the OCTs in this endeavour.”
Neil Smith said, “In tandem with the OECD, we were able to share with fellow OCTs the BVI perspective on a number of international tax issues, as well as our experience as a member of the Global Forum Steering Committee. Many small island jurisdictions have achieved excellence in international tax cooperation and this workshop is aimed at supporting and advancing this.”
The European Union, United Kingdom and OECD recognise the BVI as a third country jurisdiction in the area of financial services under which international tax cooperation falls. The BVI is rated ‘largely compliant’ by the OECD on tax transparency and is an early adopter of the common reporting standard (CRS).