The Bankers Association of T&T (BATT) is urging the Opposition to fully cooperate to ensure the passage of the Income Tax (Amendment) Bill 2018. It was only last week that Finance Minister Colm Imbert said the country’s financial system faces foreign censure and chaos if Parliament failed to pass a bill to share tax details with foreign states.
The House of Representatives last week debated Imbert’s motion for the House to adopt the report of the Joint Select Committee on the Income Tax (Amendment) Bill 2018. On the bill’s facilitation of an exchange of information between governments to combat tax avoidance and tax evasion by corporations and individuals under the Global Forum, Imbert warned of consequences for inaction.
In a statement on the issue, BATT called on the United National Congress to support the passage of the legislation and swiftly pass meaningful tax reform legislation in respect of the bill to ensure T&T’s compliance with the international standard on exchange of information on request, commonly referred as the EOIR standard.
“The proposed amendments would facilitate the exchange of information for tax purposes and effectively combat money laundering and terrorism financing. This is in line with BATT’s efforts to ensure a stronger and more stable financial sector macroeconomic framework that sustains economic growth,” BATT said.
“The amendments designed to improve compliance will advance T&T’s international ratings and will enable banks to efficiently maintain cross-border correspondent banking relationships.”
While BATT said it had noted the concerns expressed by some Opposition members, it said it wanted to assure the public that adequate mechanisms are in place internationally and domestically to prevent any abuse of the information shared with any jurisdiction.
“As with the passage of the FATCA legislation, only information relative to citizens of foreign jurisdiction will be eligible for sharing with those jurisdictions.
“Failure to pass this legislation could disrupt the smooth flow of correspondent banking relationships between domestic banks and our international correspondents. Cognizant of the vital role that correspondent banking plays in the functioning of the local financial services industry and the wider economy, BATT urges cooperation in the passage of the Income Tax (Amendment) Bill, so as to ensure compliance with international financial integrity standards,” BATT said.
BATT added that it looks forward to increased efforts towards expediting this objective and pledged its support to achieve this goal.