(CMR) Minister for Financial Services and Commerce, the Hon. André Ebanks, on Monday, addressed how the Cayman Islands cooperates on tax matters globally, and specifically with the EU, during a meeting with EU Members of Parliament (MEPs).
Minister Ebanks said he accepted the invitation to exchange views with the EU Parliament's Subcommittee on Tax Matters (FISC) to provide a better understanding of the Cayman Islands' partnership with jurisdictions globally to prevent and detect international tax crimes in accordance with OECD standards.
“Like EU Member States and other countries around the world, the Cayman Islands endeavors to offer the best possible opportunities for our people to thrive and grow. Similarly, we are concerned about global issues, including climate change and economic stability,” he said.
“And like EU Member States and other countries around the world, we also recognize that every government must collect sufficient tax revenues to deliver public services, such as healthcare, financial assistance, infrastructure, and education,” Mr. Ebanks added.
“Therefore, the Cayman Islands' firm position is that, as a global partner in fighting financial crime, we share tax information with relevant law and tax officials. This helps to ensure that taxes are paid where profits are made and that governments are able to fund the projects and programs that support their respective citizens,” he continued.
FISC was established by the EU Parliament to assist in the fight against tax fraud, tax evasion, and tax avoidance, as well as for tax transparency purposes.
To help address misunderstandings or information gaps that some MEPs could have, Minister Ebanks shared a graphic detailing the Cayman Islands' progress in improving our regulatory regime; and answered their questions, including on how the Cayman Islands' indirect tax system is not harmful to other jurisdictions that levy a direct tax.
He also invited FISC's Chair, Paul Tang, and FISC members to visit the Cayman Islands, for them to learn more about the Cayman Islands' role in facilitating tax-neutral investments.
MEPs expressed their gratitude for Minister's appearance before the FISC committee.
“We have done much to establish ourselves as a global partner. Quite a bit of this is evident in the cooperation frameworks found on our Department for International Tax Cooperation website and in our assessments by the OECD, which sets the global tax-information exchange standard,” Minister Ebanks said. “But, to dispel the legacy misperceptions, we must be willing to engage in respectful, open, and frank discussions. I thank Chair Tang and the FISC members for their kind invitation and our fruitful public discourse.”
The FISC meeting was a key component of Minister Ebanks' international engagement this month. Prior to this meeting, the Premier, the Hon. Wayne Panton addressed TAXE2 (FISC's predecessor) in 2017 as the-then Minister of Financial Services.