Owen, Christopher: Global Survey – May 2019

  • Bahamas introduces bills to amend exchange of information regime
    • 4 April 2019, the Bahamas government introduced bills to amend existing legislation to update the regulatory framework for transparency and exchange of information for tax purposes to address the concerns of international organisations.

      The Automatic Exchange of Information Act (Amendment) Bill 2019 is intended to amend Section 7 of the existing Act to change the period of time for which a reporting financial institution is required to keep records from a minimum five to six years to bring the Bahamas into line with the OECD’s Common Reporting Standard (CRS). The existing legislation is aligned with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) requirement, but not the CRS.

      Deputy Prime Minister Peter Turnquest told the House of Assembly: “The Bahamas is now in its second year of reporting under the Common Reporting Standard and the Automatic Exchange of Information Act, and we are under an obligation to ensure that The Bahamas’ legislation is consistent with the Common Reporting Standard and, secondly, The Bahamas’ reporting financial institutions are in full compliance with the Common Reporting Standard.”

      The Multinational Entities Financial Reporting Act 2018 provides for Bahamian entities that are a part of a multinational enterprise (MNE) group to report to the Ministry of Finance, the Competent Authority, on aggregated accounting information.

      Section 5 of the principal Act sets out the details of the contents of the country-by-country report that MNEs are to report to the Competent Authority. Under Section 5(3), the report must be filed no later than 31 March 2019, with respect to the reporting fiscal year that began on or before 31 May 2018.

      “This means that, for certain fiscal years, MNE groups may not be in a position to file a report since their fiscal year would not yet have ended,” Turnquest said. “The Multinational Entities Financial Reporting Amendment Bill 2019 seeks to amend the restrictive timeframe for the filing of a country-by-country report ... By removing [a] portion of Section 5(3), all companies will be allowed to file the country-by-country report 12 months after their fiscal year end regardless of when the fiscal year ends, thus allowing equal footing under the law.”


  • BVI issues draft Economic Substance Code
    • 23 April 2019, the BVI International Tax Authority (ITA) published a draft Economic Substance Code to provide guidance on the interpretation of the Economic Substance (Companies and Limited Partnerships) Act 2018 (ESA) and on the manner in which the ITA will carry out its obligations under the legislation.

      Non-resident entities are not subject to the economic substance requirements. The Code confirms that any entity that claims to be a non-resident entity, and that carries on a relevant activity, must declare this and must support the declaration with acceptable evidence that it is a non-resident that is provided by the competent authority in the entity’s jurisdiction of tax residence. The Code also includes provisions for entities that are taxed on a branch or agency basis on all of their activities in a jurisdiction outside the BVI.

      The Code sets out the narrow application of the pure equity holding entity definition, and clarifies that an entity that owns any other form of investment or asset aside from equity participations in other entities will not fall within the scope of a pure equity holding entity. It further states that the assessment of the adequacy of any employees or premises for a pure equity holding entity will be dependent on the particular facts of that entity, and provides some additional guidance on how this may be assessed for different types of pure equity holding entities.

      The Code confirms that the business of being an investment fund is not a relevant activity. However it refers to the EU’s revised list of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes, which stated that further work was required to define acceptable economic substance requirements for collective investment funds later in 2019.

      The Code sets out how the ESA requirements for a legal entity other than a pure equity holding entity may be assessed and considerations for how an entity may comply with each requirement in respect of direction and management, adequate employees and expenditure, appropriate premises.

      The Code confirms that entities must be in a position to comply with the requirements of the ESA from the commencement of their first ‘financial period’. The information to be reported must be provided in respect of a financial period within six months of the end of the period.

      The initial financial period for new entities formed after 1 January 2019 is deemed to be 12 months from the date of formation. For existing entities formed prior to 1 January 2019, the initial financial period is deemed to be 12 months from 30 June 2019 unless a legal entity opts for an earlier commencement date.

  • Crown Dependencies issue further guidance on economic substance
    • 26 April 2019, the governments of Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man issued jointly a second guidance to provide further assistance on the scope and application of the economic substance legislation for companies in the Crown Dependencies.

      The legislation, which applies to all companies resident for tax purposes in the Crown Dependencies, was approved by the respective parliaments in December 2018 and is effective for accounting periods commencing on or after 1 January 2019.

      The guidance confirms that Core Income Generating Activities (CIGA) are the key essential and valuable activities that generate the income of the company. It is not necessary for the company to perform all of the CIGA listed in the legislation for the particular sector, but it must perform the CIGA that generate the income it has.

      In order to meet the economic substance requirement the CIGA that generate the income must be performed in the relevant Crown Dependency. Where the CIGA involves making relevant decisions, then the majority of those making the decisions must be present in Crown Dependency when the decision is made, otherwise the decision will not be considered to be made in the Crown Dependency.

      If there is any indication that a company is seeking to manipulate or artificially suppress its income to avoid being subject to substance requirements the respective tax administrations will take the appropriate action.

      The guidance contains examples of what constitutes CIGA for banking, holding companies, finance and leasing, fund management, distribution and service centres and headquartering. However it does not provide specific information in respect of insurance (including captive insurance), shipping and intellectual property, which are to be included in subsequent versions.

      The guidance provides confirmation that pure equity-holding companies can passively hold investments and receive income or gains from them without being regarded as a commercial activity. To fall outside the definition of a pure equity-holding company, and be subject to more onerous requirements, a company would have to carry out real activities that are commercial in nature – activities directly linked to the sale/exchange of goods or assets, or services in pursuit of profit, such as renting land or property

      The guidance also confirms that intra-group financing is within scope of the economic substance law, although providing trade credit on terms that do not require the debtor to pay interest is not.

      The definition of fund management encompasses companies that provide management services in relation to the investment and risk decisions for collective investment vehicles, but does not include the fund itself. Other types of services, such as administration, advisory or custodian services, are not within the defined activities.

      It is possible that a company can receive relevant income from a number of relevant sectors. In such cases, the criteria for each sector should be considered. One of the examples included confirms that entering into a 'one-off' transaction will not necessarily mean that an entity is carrying on relevant activities in a particular sector. Whether or not this is the case will be a question of fact, with all relevant matters considered.

      A definition of ‘employees’ is included, with acknowledgement that appropriately qualified staff will carry more weight when considering the adequacy of employees test. In order for a relevant activity of a company to be viewed as ‘directed and managed’, the company is expected to hold at least one board meeting per year. If more than one meeting is held, then it is expected that the majority of meetings should be in the relevant Crown Dependency.

  • Dominica signs the Multilateral Convention
    • 25 April 2019, Dominica signed the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters, the primary instrument for swift implementation of the Standard for Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information in Tax Matters (CRS). It is the 128th jurisdiction to join the Convention.

      The Convention was developed jointly by the OECD and the Council of Europe in 1988 and amended by Protocol in 2010 to align it to the international standard on exchange of information on request. The amended Convention was opened for signature on 1 June 2011.

      It is the most comprehensive multilateral instrument available for all forms of tax co-operation to tackle tax evasion and avoidance – exchange of information on request, spontaneous exchange, automatic exchange, tax examinations abroad, simultaneous tax examinations and assistance in tax collection.

      Dominica also signed the CRS Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement‎ (CRS MCAA), re-confirming its commitment to implementing the automatic exchange of financial account information pursuant to the CRS. Dominica was the 105th jurisdiction to sign the CRS MCAA.

  • EC finds UK CFC regime granted state aid to multinationals
    • 2 April 2019, the European Commission found that part of the UK’s Controlled Foreign Company (CFC) rules had granted a selective advantage to certain multinational companies. This was illegal under EU State aid rules and the UK must now recover the aid from the multinational companies that benefitted.

      The Commission said that CFC rules in general were an effective and important feature of many tax systems to address tax avoidance. UK CFC rules established two tests to determine how much of the financing profits from loans granted by an offshore subsidiary were to be reallocated to the UK parent company and, hence, taxed in the UK:

      -“UK activities test” – the extent to which lending activities, which are most relevant to managing the financing activities and thus generating the financing income, are located in the UK; or

      -“UK connected capital test” – the extent to which loans are financed with funds or assets, which derive from capital contributions from the UK.

      Between 2013 and 2018, however, the UK's CFC rules included a special rule for certain financing income of multinational groups active in the UK. The Group Financing Exemption, introduced under the Finance Act 2012, provided a derogation from the general CFC rules. It partially (75%) or fully exempted from taxation in the UK financing income received by an offshore subsidiary from another foreign group company, even if this income was derived from “UK activities” or the capital being used was “UK connected”.

      As a result, a multinational active in the UK using this exemption was able to provide financing to a foreign group company via an offshore subsidiary paying little or no tax on the profits from these transactions. In October 2017, the Commission opened an in-depth investigation to verify whether the Group Financing Exemption complied with EU State aid rules.

      The Commission's investigation concluded that the Group Financing Exemption was only partially justified. In particular, it found that when financing income from a foreign group company, channelled through an offshore subsidiary, was financed with UK connected capital and there were no UK activities involved in generating the finance profits, the Group Financing Exemption was justified and did not constitute State aid under EU rules.

      This was because such an exemption avoided complex and disproportionately burdensome intra-group tracing exercises that would be required to assess the exact percentage of profits funded with UK assets. The Commission acknowledged that, in line with UK arguments, the Group Financing Exemption in these cases provided for a clear proxy that was justified to ensure the proper functioning and effectiveness of the CFC rules.

      Conversely, the Commission found that when financing income from a foreign group company, channelled through an offshore subsidiary, derived from UK activities, the Group Financing Exemption was not justified and did constitute State aid under EU rules.

      This was because the exercise required to assess the extent to which the financing income of a company derived from UK activities was not particularly burdensome or complex. The use of a proxy rule in these cases could not therefore be justified. Moreover, the Group Financing Exemption did not seek to address any possible complexity related to the allocation of financing income to UK activities nor had the UK claimed that it did.

      The Commission therefore concluded that multinationals claiming the Group Financing Exemption while meeting the “UK activities test” received an unjustified preferential tax treatment that was illegal under EU State aid rules (Article 107 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU).

      Following the adoption of the Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive (ATAD), all EU Member States were required to introduce CFC rules in their legislation as of 1 January 2019. In line with ATAD, as of 1 January 2019, the Group Financing Exemption now applies only where a CFC charge on financing income from foreign group companies would otherwise apply exclusively under the UK connected capital test. The CFC rules as currently applied therefore no longer raise concerns under State aid rules.

      As a matter of principle, EU State aid rules require that illegal State aid must be recovered in order to remove the distortion of competition created by the aid. In this case, the UK is required to reassess the tax liability of those UK companies that illegally benefitted from the Group Financing Exemption as it was applied to profits derived from UK activities.

      Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said: "Anti–tax avoidance rules are important to ensure that all companies pay their fair share of tax. But they must apply equally to all taxpayers. The UK gave certain multinationals a selective advantage by granting them an unjustified exemption from UK anti–tax avoidance rules. This is illegal under EU State aid rules. The UK must now recover the undue tax benefits."

  • Hong Kong introduces expanded profits tax exemption regime for funds
    • 1 April 2019, the Inland Revenue (Profits Tax Exemption for Funds) (Amendment) Ordinance 2019, which introduces a unified profits tax exemption regime for eligible onshore and offshore funds operating in Hong Kong, was brought into force.

      Under the Ordinance, all privately offered onshore and offshore funds operating in Hong Kong, regardless of their structure, their size or the purpose that they serve, can enjoy profits tax exemption for their transactions in specified assets subject to meeting certain conditions. Eligible funds can also enjoy profits tax exemption from investment in both overseas and local private companies.

      The Ordinance is intended to address the concerns of the Council of the European Union over the ‘ring-fencing’ features of Hong Kong's tax regimes for privately offered offshore funds and enhance the competitiveness of Hong Kong's tax regimes by creating a level playing field for all funds operating in Hong Kong.

      Previously profits tax exemption at the fund level was only available to non-resident funds – with the exception of resident open-ended fund companies. At the investment level, non-resident funds with investment in private companies could only benefit from a tax exemption if those companies were incorporated overseas.

  • Insurer Zurich pays USD5.1 million to settle US tax evasion case
    • 25 April 2019, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that Zurich Life Insurance Company, headquartered in Switzerland, and Zurich International Life, headquartered in the Isle of Man, had agreed a non-prosecution agreement in respect of tax evasion charges.

      It said Zurich had agreed to co-operate in any related criminal or civil proceedings, to implement controls to stop misconduct involving undeclared US accounts, and to pay a USD5.1 million penalty in return for the DOJ’s agreement not to prosecute the insurance provider for tax-related criminal offences.

      Between 1 January 2008 and 30 June 2014, Zurich had issued or had certain insurance policies and accounts of US taxpayer customers, who used their policies to evade US taxes and reporting requirements. In particular, Zurich had approximately 420 US-related policies, 127 with Zurich Life and 293 with Zurich International Life, with an aggregate maximum value of approximately USD102 million, for which the US taxpayer customers did not provide evidence that they had declared their policies to US tax authorities.

      Insurance must meet certain minimal requirements in order to qualify for favourable tax treatment under the US tax code. The policies offered by Zurich Life and Zurich International Life did not meet these requirements and the increase of the principal in these policies was therefore subject to taxation. The policies were required to be disclosed to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on FinCEN Form 114 Foreign Bank Account Report, commonly referred to as an FBAR.

      In issuing or having undeclared US-related policies, Zurich knew or should have known that it was helping US taxpayers conceal from the IRS ownership of undeclared assets, maintained as insurance policies or accounts.

      After the launch of the DOJ’s Swiss Bank Programme, Zurich initiated a global review of the life insurance, savings and pension business sold by all of its non-US operating companies to identify policies or accounts with US indicia. In July 2015, it contacted the DOJ to inform it of the initial findings of the self-review. It had also worked closely with non-US regulators to ensure full disclosure.


  • Jersey police to investigate claims of corporate espionage
    • 14 April 2019, Jersey police confirmed that they would investigate any ‘potential criminality’ after a former finance worker published a book claiming to have been a French secret service operative who spied for more than three years while working in the Island.

      Maxime Renahy claimed to have worked for the Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure (DGSE), France's external intelligence agency, between 2007 and 2012, while he was employed by Mourant International Finance Administration, later State Street Bank, in Jersey and Luxembourg.

      Speaking at the offices of his publishers in Paris, Renahy claimed that during that time he had mapped confidential corporate financial structures, indicating asset ownership of multinational companies and individuals for the DGSE, which shared the information with the French tax authorities.

      He also claimed to have regularly smuggled information to Paris using encrypted memory sticks. In addition he befriended and seduced lawyers, accountants and compliance managers and extracted confidential information from them, which he relayed to intelligence agents.

      Renahy claimed that his work has been influential in tax cases in several European countries and had helped prompt France’s blacklisting of Jersey as a non-co-operative tax jurisdiction in 2012 under the administration of president Francois Hollande.

      A Jersey police spokeswoman told the Jersey Evening Post: ”The States of Jersey Police have noted apparent disclosures and assertions through the JEP report in respect of espionage. We will investigate any potential criminality here, in liaison with the Law Officers’ Department as necessary.”

  • Kenya and Mauritius sign new tax treaty after court ruling
    • 10 April 2019, Mauritius signed a new double taxation agreement (DTA) with Kenya. It will replace the previous 2012 treaty, which was invalidated by the Kenyan High Court in March as a result of a legal challenge brought by Tax Justice Network Africa.

      On 15 March, the Kenyan High Court held that the 2012 DTA, which was purportedly ratified by legal notice published in the Kenya Gazette in May 2014, was in fact invalid. The Kenyan government had failed to follow the correct ratification procedures because the agreement had not been properly laid before Parliament.

      Tax Justice Network Africa also claimed that the 2012 treaty was harmful to Kenya because it reduced withholding tax on services, management fees and insurance commissions from 20% to 0% and provided for the right to tax capital gains from stock sales of Kenyan companies to reside with Mauritius, which does not levy any capital gains tax.

      The new DTA has not yet been published, so it not known whether the disputed provisions have been included in the new treaty. It was one of six agreements, including an Investment Protection and Promotion Agreement, signed by Kenyan President Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta during a visit to Mauritius.

  • Luxembourg ratifies the Multilateral BEPS Convention
    • 9 April 2019, Luxembourg became the 87th state to ratify the Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty Related Measures to Prevent Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (MLI) with the OECD. The MLI will enter into force for Luxemburg in August this year.

      The MLI aims to close the gaps in existing international tax rules by transposing results from the OECD/G20 BEPS Project into bilateral tax treaties worldwide. The MLI modifies the application of thousands of bilateral tax treaties concluded to eliminate double taxation.

      It also implements agreed minimum standards to counter treaty abuse (BEPS Action 6), prevent the artificial avoidance of permanent establishment status (BEPS Action 7), neutralise the effects of hybrid mismatch arrangements (BEPS Action 2), and improve dispute resolution mechanisms (BEPS Action 14).

  • Malta issues in-principle approvals for 14 VFA Agents
    • 2 April 2019, the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) announced that it had issued in-principle approvals for the registration of 14 Virtual Financial Assets (VFA) agents that had applied for registration in November 2018.

      VFA agents will assist issuers and services providers under the Virtual Financial Assets Act. They will make applications to the MFSA on their behalf and will serve as first level of defence for market integrity and public interest. They are subject persons under the Prevention of Money Laundering and Funding of Terrorism Regulations.

      VFA agents are required to evaluate their clients’ business plans and their fitness and properness prior to submitting an application to the MFSA. They are required to perform due diligence on their clients and to continue supporting the MFSA by providing any necessary information during post-registration supervision.

      MFSA Head of Securities and Markets Supervision Dr Christopher Buttigieg said: “The issuance of these in-principle approvals is an important milestone in the MFSA’s effort at becoming a regulator of excellence in the field of the regulation of crypto assets.”

  • New Zealand government rejects CGT recommendations
    • 17 April 2019, New Zealand's coalition government rejected the recommendation of its independent Tax Working Group (TWG) to introduce a general capital gains tax (CGT). It agreed that no further work was necessary on this aspect of the TWG’s report.

      The TWG was set up by the coalition soon after its formation in October 2017 to create a vision for future tax policy. Its final report, which appeared in February 2019, proposed the introduction of CGT on a wide class of assets.

      TWG chairman Michael Cullen pointed to the perceived unfairness that people earning salary and wages were taxed on their full income, while income from gains on assets was often not taxed at all. Its majority decision was that CGT should be imposed on all types of land and improvements except the family home, and on shares, intangible property and business assets.

      Minister of Finance Grant Robertson responded that a number of the recommendations would now be considered for inclusion in the government’s Tax Policy Work Programme, but said: “The government is not adopting any of the recommendations on capital gains taxation and has agreed no further work is necessary on that aspect of the report.”

  • Standard Chartered fined USD1.1 billion over AML and sanctions breaches
    • 9 April 2019, the US and UK authorities announced that Standard Chartered Bank had agreed to pay USD1.1 billion to settle allegations of poor money-laundering controls and breaching sanctions against countries including Iran.

      London-headquartered Standard Chartered agreed to pay USD947 million to US agencies – the US Department of Justice, the US Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), the New York County District Attorney’s Office and the New York State Department of Financial Services – to settle “apparent violations” of sanctions imposed against Myanmar, Zimbabwe, Cuba, Sudan, Syria, and Iran.

      From June 2009 until May 2014, the bank processed 9,335 transactions totalling USD437.5 million that were processed to or through the US. All these transactions involved persons or countries subject to comprehensive sanctions programmes administered by OFAC.

      The majority of the conduct concerned Iran-related accounts maintained by Standard Chartered’s branches in Dubai on behalf of customers that sent payment instructions while being physically located or ordinarily resident in Iran. The bank also processed online banking instructions for residents of comprehensively sanctioned countries.

      Under the settlement agreement, Standard Chartered agreed to implement robust compliance procedures, including regular risk assessments, improvements to internal controls and auditing, and ongoing sanctions compliance.

      OFAC is also settling a separate case involving apparent violations of sanctions related to Zimbabwe. The bank is to pay USD18 million to settle apparent violations in respect of transactions processed by Standard Chartered Bank in Zimbabwe, to or through the US between May 2009 and July 2013, involving Zimbabwe-related specially designated nationals.

      Standard Chartered said it accepted “full responsibility for the violations and control deficiencies”, adding that the “vast majority” of the alleged incidents took place before 2012 and none occurred after 2014. The bank placed partial blame on two former junior employees, who were “aware of certain customers’ Iranian connections and conspired with them to break the law, deceive the group and violate its policies”.

      The settlement extends by two years a deferred prosecution agreement that Standard Chartered originally entered in 2012, when it paid US authorities USD667 million for illegally moving millions of dollars through the US financial system between 2001 and 2007 on behalf of customers in Iran, Sudan, Libya and Myanmar, some of the same countries involved in the latest settlement. In 2014, it paid a further USD300 million to New York’s Department of Financial Services after a review found shortcomings in the bank’s surveillance systems.

      Separately, it was fined £102 million by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) for anti-money-laundering breaches that included ‘shortcomings’ in its counter-terrorism finance controls in the Middle East. It is the second-largest fine ever imposed by the UK regulator for anti-money-laundering failures.

      The FCA said it found “serious and sustained” shortcomings in Standard Chartered’s AML controls relating to customer due diligence and ongoing monitoring in both its UK wholesale bank correspondent banking business from November 2010 to July 2013, and its branches in the UAE during the period from November 2009 to December 2014.

      It said Standard Chartered had processed transactions worth USD438 million between 2009 and 2014, the majority of which involved Iran-linked accounts from its Dubai branch routing payments through, or to, its New York office or other US-based banks. It had failed to establish and maintain risk-sensitive policies and procedures, and failed to ensure its UAE branches applied UK equivalent AML and counter-terrorist financing controls.

  • Tribunal rules HMRC out of time in £84 million tax appeal
    • 12 April 2019, the First-Tier Tribunal tax court held that HMRC had allowed too much time to pass before issuing an assessment for £84 million worth of unpaid tax against the founder of fashion retailer Matalan, John Hargreaves, in respect of capital gains.

      In 2000, Hargreaves sold 29.3% of his holdings in Matalan for £231 million. He had moved to Monaco in March of that same year and filed his tax return for 2000-2001 as a non-resident. This status was not challenged until 2007, when HMRC issued a ‘discovery’ assessment demanding £84 million in CGT.

      Such special tax assessments are issued if the discovery of tax owed is made later than 12 months of a return being filed. However, an HMRC investigation, involving correspondence with Hargreaves’ advisers, showed that tax officials had discovered the nature of his residency by 2004 but had taken no action against Hargreaves until issuing the tax demand in 2007.

      Hargreaves disputed HMRC’s assessment that he was domiciled in the UK and was therefore liable for CGT on the gains. He lost a 2014 case to determine his residency, which revealed details of frequent private jet trips to his Lancashire home, in the same county as Matalan’s head office. The court ruling also showed that Hargreaves maintained two cars in the UK, continued to see his UK doctor and dentist and had hospital and physiotherapy treatment in the UK.

      However Hargreaves challenged the case on the timing of the demand from the tax office. Upon a discovery of an issue with a tax return, HMRC has 18 months to act or it is considered ‘stale’. It was argued that HMRC had had the option of making earlier discovery of Hargreaves’ domicile status, but chose not to.

      Judge John Brooks was critical of Hargreaves for not seeking sufficiently detailed advice before filing his tax return but concluded that HMRC had let the clock run down on its inquiry. “There was,” he said, “at the very least, more than three years between the discovery and the assessment. In my judgment, given this delay, the discovery had lost its quality of newness and become stale by the time the assessment was made. Accordingly the assessment cannot stand.”

      HMRC has the right to appeal the decision. A spokesperson for HMRC said it was “considering the judgment carefully.” The tribunal papers reveal that in September last year Hargreaves withdrew the first part of the appeal “accepting that he was resident” in the relevant period.

  • UK designates Barbados Stock Exchange as ‘Recognised’
    • 2 April 2019, the UK tax authority (HMRC) added the Barbados Stock Exchange (BSE) to its list of ‘designated recognised stock exchanges’ under Section 1005 of the UK Income Tax Act 2007.

      BSE managing director Marlon Yarde said: “The recognition of the BSE as a ‘recognised stock exchange’ represents a significant milestone in the BSE’s continued development. This will not only enhance the profile of Barbados as an internationally recognised financial centre – it will also provide an avenue for sustainable and progressive development of the capital markets within Barbados and the wider Caribbean Community region.”

      The move should encourage enhanced capital investment by UK investors and will be of benefit to Barbados and UK investors through the preservation of the following tax advantages:

      -Securities listed on the BSE may be held in tax advantaged Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs) and Personal Equity Plans (PEPs) by UK investors;

      -Holders of debt securities satisfying the Eurobond exemption and listed on the BSE are exempted from withholding tax on distributions underlying debt securities;

      -Inheritance tax allowances may accrue to UK holders of securities listed on the BSE; and

      -UK pension schemes will be permitted to hold securities listed on the BSE, giving companies and funds listed on BSE access to a larger market of sophisticated, well-capitalised investors.

  • UK estimates £27.8 billion in tax underpaid by large corporates in 2018
    • 24 April 2019, the UK tax authority HMRC is investigating £27.8 billion of tax possibly underpaid by large corporates in 2018, up 14% from the £24.8 billion that it estimates was underpaid in 2017, according to figures obtained by law firm Pinsent Masons.

      The figures show that US-based multinational businesses may have underpaid £4.6 billion of UK tax last year, up 35% from £3.4 billion in 2017, representing 17% of the total amount of tax that HMRC was targeting last year. Swiss-based businesses represented the second highest at 6% of underpaid tax, followed by Ireland (3%) and France (2%).

      The figures refer to 'tax under consideration' by HMRC’s Large Business Directorate (LBD), which is an estimate of the maximum potential additional tax liability across all inquiries, before full investigations are completed. The LBD covers the 2,100 largest and most complex businesses in the UK.

      The UK's Diverted Profits Tax, which was introduced in 2015 to deter activities that divert profits away from the UK, raised £388 million in 2017/18 – more than the £360 million forecast when the tax was introduced. DPT is paid at 25%, compared to corporation tax at 19%. This higher rate is intended to be an incentive to groups to adjust their transfer pricing.

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