Shawna Lake – CEO of The St. Kitts Investment Promotion Agency (SKIPA)
Photo By Erasmus Williams
Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
August 27, 2009 (CUOPM)
St. Kitts and Nevis is currently negotiating Tax Information Exchange Agreements with several countries including the Nordic nations of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.
Speaking at his monthly Press Conference on Wednesday, St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas said his Government was also negotiating similar agreements with New Zealand, Aruba, the Netherlands, Australia, Canada and the Netherlands.
“St. Kitts and Nevis is not among those countries unfortunate enough to have been placed on the strangely-named “˜black list.’ At any rate, one of the key objectives of my government is the establishment of double taxation agreements that would prevent foreign nationals who invest here, from also being taxed in their own countries. I am pleased to report, because of the impact that this will have on our ability to continue to attract foreign investors, that a number of the above-mentioned countries have already offered to enter into supplemental agreements to this effect,” said Dr. Douglas.
A meeting in London in April, the OECD reintroduction a listing process that included a black list of countries that had not committed to the OECD project to eliminate harmful tax practices; a grey list of countries that had made commitments but had not yet entered into the minimum number of Tax Information Exchange Agreements to be deemed to have substantially met the standard; and a white list of countries that are deemed to meet the OECD standard for tax information exchange.
St. Kitts and Nevis was placed on the OECD grey list and arrangements are being made to sign agreements to exchange tax information in civil and administrative tax matters with at least 12 OECD countries.
Under the Federation’s anti-money laundering framework, information for criminal tax evasion matters can be shared with any country making an appropriate request through our Financial Intelligence Unit.
The Financial Secretaries from both St. Kitts and Nevis, representatives of the Legal Departments in Nevis and St. Kitts as well as Ambassador Wendell Lawrence and Mrs. Shawna Lake who have been involved in this process for the last 8 years have been negotiating and reviewing the texts for Tax Information Exchange Agreements.
“One area that is being looked at carefully is the domestic laws in place with these “soon to be” treaty partners which provide relief from double taxation for their residents who make investments in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis,” said Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the St. Kitts Investment Promotion Agency (SKIPA), Shawna Lake.
She said this is an area that is particularly important to ensure that the Federation’s investment climate is not affected by the country’s cooperation in tax matters with its treaty partners which could result in their residents who invest here being taxed both in the Federation and again in their home jurisdictions.
“A number of the countries with which we have been negotiating have offered to enter into supplemental agreements with the Federation to provide relief from double taxation and some other jurisdictions have in place very fair domestic laws which provide exemptions from taxes for their residents who establish businesses in our jurisdiction. These measures are viewed by the Federation as very progressive as they provide for inclusion of our jurisdiction and other small developing countries into the international market in a responsible way,” said Lake.