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Bermuda's New Premier Fires Back At 'Tax Haven' Accusations

by Mike Godfrey, Tax-News.com, Washington

19 October 2017


Bermuda's Prime Minister, David Burt, defended the territory's reputation in a recent interview with Aaron Heslehurst of the BBC's Talking Business program.

He said Bermuda is a "leader in global transparency" and the "gold standard of an international financial center."

In response to the Oxfam accusation that the island is the "world's worst corporate tax haven," made in December last year, Burt said Bermuda is "a leader in global tax compliance, transparency, and is without question a good global citizen."

He noted his recent meeting with the OECD General Secretary and highlighted that Bermuda's ratings on transparency are equivalent to those of the UK and Germany, and in many instances ahead of the US.

While acknowledging Bermuda has a different taxation system - with no taxes on profits, income, dividends, or capital gains, and no requirement to distribute dividends - Burt said the island's 20 percent blended tax rate is equivalent to the US federal level of taxation. He also noted Bermuda's current tax system has been in place since the nineteenth century.

Burt said that while change had been felt since the Panama Papers revelations, Bermuda has had a beneficial ownership register for 70 years, well before many other countries, and Bermuda did not feature in the top-20 countries mentioned in the Panama Papers. Burt also cited Bermuda's participation in the OECD's automatic information exchange standard as evidence of its leadership role in information transparency.

TAGS: compliance | tax | tax compliance | international financial centres (IFC) | Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) | Bermuda | Germany | dividends | Panama

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