As a further evidence of Cayman’s long-standing history of participation and commitment to the OECD Global Forum on Taxation (2000) on principal standards for transparency and exchange of information on tax matters, the list of countries with which Cayman has in place official cooperation agreements has increased to twenty. This list encompasses four of the G-7 countries and 17 of the 30 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) member states.
The countries now able to request tax information (both civil/administrative and criminal matters) from Cayman under the latest unilateral mechanism are Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Holland, Ireland, Japan, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Slovak Republic, South Africa, Switzerland and the UK. This news fell quickly on the heels of bilateral agreements (including tax information agreements) that were announced in early March with the Nordic countries of Denmark, Faroe Islands, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. Existing bilateral arrangements have been in place with the US since 2001.
This latest set of unilateral agreements supports a healthy list of accolades from various global regulatory bodies, including the latest report given on the jurisdiction by the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (“CFATF”) which noted that Cayman has “a strong compliance culture” and that it was compliant or largely compliant with FATF and CFATF recommendations putting Cayman near the top of the list of both onshore and offshore jurisdictions in terms of anti-money laundering and cooperation initiatives. The International Monetary Fund (“IMF”) has also found Cayman to have “a sound framework in place for the provision of mutual assistance through domestic law and international treaties and arrangements”. The IMF has recently conducted its latest review of Cayman, with the report expected in due course.
Both the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority and the Cayman Government have long held the view that establishing appropriate regulation is crucial to long term commercial success. In 2000 it was one of the first non OECD jurisdictions to adopt the principles of transparency and exchange of information, going on to complete the tax information agreement in 2001 with the United States. 2005 saw agreements with 27 European Union member states under which the jurisdiction has agreed to report savings income pursuant to the European Union Savings Directive. Over the years, Memoranda of Understanding on tax related issues have also been signed with Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, Isle of Man, Jamaica, Panama, the United Kingdom, and eight regulatory authorities in the Caribbean. Bilateral arrangements with the United Kingdom are also expected to be announced imminently.