NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The Bahamas has been removed from the French list of non-cooperative states and territories in tax matters, the Ministry of Finance announced yesterday.
The ministry noted that the list, which is updated annually by the French Ministry of Economics and Finance, was published in the Official Diary of the French Republic on March 4.
It further noted that the French government has imposed a number of sanctions on blacklisted countries, including applying withholding taxes at a higher rate on financial transactions involving blacklisted countries. This, it noted, serves as a disincentive to French taxpayers, both individuals and companies, wishing to conduct business in blacklisted countries.
Commenting on the decision, Minister of State for Finance Senator Kwasi Thompson stated: “The decision by France to remove The Bahamas from its tax blacklist is the culmination of extensive bilateral discussions with the French government since we were first listed in December 2019.
“From the moment we learned that The Bahamas was listed, we set about to vigorously disprove France’s assumptions about our commitment to the international regulatory standards on tax cooperation and exchange of information for tax purposes.
“Our discussions with the French authorities have been fruitful and have fostered a deeper degree of cooperation between our two countries. We have aptly demonstrated that The Bahamas is indeed doing its part in the global effort to eradicate harmful tax practices.”
The Bahamas was placed on the French blacklist in December 2019 alongside Anguilla, the Virgin Islands and Seychelles.
The blacklisting was relative to the tax information exchange agreement between France and The Bahamas, and the perception by the French authorities that The Bahamas had not been responding to requests for information in a satisfactory manner.
The government, however, maintained it had no knowledge of any outstanding requests from French authorities.
Attorney General Carl Bethel earlier this year told a local daily that French requests for information on the tax affairs of its citizens and companies had not been answered by The Bahamas because they were being sent to an e-mail address that was not being monitored by the Ministry of Finance.
According to the Ministry of Finance, over the past year, The Bahamas has amplified its engagement in the international community to defend the integrity of the jurisdiction against the criticism that it is not doing enough to curb financial crimes.
It noted that in early 2020, the European Union removed The Bahamas from its list of uncooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes and in December 2020, the Financial Action Task Force removed The Bahamas from its anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism watchlist.
Source: Eye Witness News