Deputy Premier and Minister of Health and Social Development, Honourable Dancia Penn, OBE, QC, and Secretary of State for Tax Affairs Ministry of Finance and Public Administration of the Portuguese Republic, Professor Sérgio Trigo Tavares Vasques, signed the agreement at the BVI’s London Office. This is the second TIEA the Territory signed on October 5, the first being with the Federal Republic of Germany. – The Government of the Virgin Islands enhanced relations with the Portuguese Republic by concluding a Tax Information Exchange Agreement (TIEA) this week bringing the total signed TIEAs to 19.
The TIEA provides for full exchange of information on request in both criminal and civil tax matters and builds upon legislation in both jurisdictions, which already provides for co-operation and the exchange of information. The TIEA reflects both Governments' shared commitment to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) principles of transparency and effective exchange of information.
Under the terms of the TIEA, the Portuguese Republic and the Virgin Islands have agreed not to apply prejudicial or restrictive measures based on harmful tax practices to residents or nationals while the TIEA is in force and effective.
In a joint declaration, the Portuguese Republic and Virgin Islands stated that the agreement represents a milestone in relations between the two countries.
The declaration further states: “Portugal and BVI have long been active in international efforts in the fight against financial crimes and each share a common commitment to develop and comply with international standards on money laundering, terrorist financing and financial regulation. The Portuguese Republic recognises the BVI Government's reputation as a constructive and co-operative member of the international community with a globally integrated and responsible finance centre.”
Secretary of State for Tax Affairs in the Ministry of Finance and Public Administration, Professor Sérgio Trigo Tavares Vasques and Deputy Premier and Minister of Health and Social Development, Honourable Dancia Penn, OBE, QC pose for a photo opportunity after signing the Territory’s 19th Tax Information Exchange Agreement in London on October 5. (Photo credit: BVI International Finance Centre)
During her remarks at the signing ceremony Honourable Penn said: “The Government of the British Virgin Islands is proud of its record of positive engagement in international initiatives and our reputation as a responsible finance centre with the highest standards of regulation.”
She continued, “We very much welcome the Portuguese Republic’s recognition of the BVI Government’s reputation as a constructive and co-operative member of the international community. We are convinced that this Tax Information Exchange Agreement will mark a new era in relations between the BVI and Portugal.”
In addition to this signing, the Territory has signed TIEAs with Ireland, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Netherland Antilles and Aruba, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, France and the Nordic Alliance of Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Iceland, The Faroes and Greenland, China and Germany.
Under the guidelines provided by the OECD and the new international tax standard emanating from the G-20 Summit in April 2009, jurisdictions are required to sign at least 12 TIEAs.
The Territory was recognised in 2009 and secured its place on the OECD’s “white list” by surpassing the number of Tax Information Exchange Agreements required by the OECD standard of transparency and effective exchange of information.