Wed | Jan 16, 2019

Bahamas denies being blacklisted by OECD

Published:Wednesday | October 17, 2018 | 9:58 AM
Peter Turnquest - CMC photo

NASSAU, Bahamas, CMC – The Bahamas government says it “strongly refutes” media reports that the country has been blacklisted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

“This report is false and misleading,” the Ministry of Finance said, noting that the OECD Tuesday published a report that includes a list of jurisdictions around the world, including The Bahamas, which operate Citizenship by Investment (CBI) or Residence by Investment (RBI) programmes.

The government insists that “this report is not a blacklist” and added that representatives of the Ministry of Finance, who are currently attending meetings in Paris, met with the Head of the OECD International Cooperation and Tax Administration Division, which published the report.

“The Ministry was assured that the characterisation of the list as a blacklist is completely inaccurate. The Bahamas is under no obligation to take any measures to change its investment schemes. “

The statement noted that in The Bahamas, Economic Permanent Residency gives the individual the right to reside permanently in The Bahamas and travel freely to and from the country unless status is revoked.

It said that the programme does not confer citizenship or the right to be gainfully employed in the country and that it also does not confer tax residency and the individual must still comply with the tax laws of their country of origin.

“The second home market in The Bahamas is a valuable source of investment in the country and promotes economic and cultural diversity. The Bahamas continues to welcome global citizens to our majestic shores to experience the stunning beauty of the islands and the rich culture of our people.

“This includes opportunities for second home owners to invest in The Bahamas and to enjoy the quality of life that our islands afford,” said Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest.

The OECD said Tuesday that the Residence and Citizenship by investment schemes, often referred to as golden passports or visas, “can create the potential for misuse as tools to hide assets held abroad from reporting under the OECD/G20 Common Reporting Standard (CRS).

“In particular, Identity Cards, residence permits and other documentation obtained through schemes can potentially be abused to misrepresent an individual’s jurisdiction(s) of tax residence and to endanger the proper operation of the CRS due diligence procedures,” it said.

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