On the 28th of October 2015, Barbados became a signatory to the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters (Multilateral Convention). This Convention is the most comprehensive multilateral instrument available for all forms of tax cooperation to tackle tax evasion and avoidance developed by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the Council of Europe. The Minister of International Business, Donville Inniss signed the Convention on behalf of the Barbados Government, at the Hilton Barbados Resort making Barbados one of 74 signatories to the agreement. On the 29th of October, Barbados also signed the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement(MCAA). The MCAA implements the OECD’s Standard for Automatic Exchange of Financial Information and is based on Article 6 of the Multilateral Convention. These signings coincided with Barbados’ hosting of the 8th meeting of the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes, which took place October 28th to 30th 2015. The meeting saw some 200 delegates converge on the island.
The signing of the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement implements the new international standards on automatic exchange of information. Speaking to the media after the signing, Minister of International Business, Donville Inniss explained what the signing of the agreement meant for Barbados. “What we just witnessed here is the signing of the Competent Authorities, which will be the agencies in each country that will be responsible for collecting information on tax and sharing it across the world. So, for example, I would have signed on behalf of Barbados the Convention that will allow Barbados to in principle agree to sharing information on tax affairs across borders within the Global Forum arrangement.” Mr. Inniss went on to explain that the Competent Authority in Barbados is the Barbados Revenue Authority (BRA), and the Commissioner of Revenue Margaret Sivers, signed the agreement on the country’s behalf.
Mr. Inniss pointed out that the multilateral arrangement made things easier as there was no longer a need to negotiate bilateral agreements for each country, as information could now be shared through the multilateral mechanism.
Deputy Director of Legal Affairs at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Madame Josee Secteau, said the event represented “the remarkable recent progress made in international tax transparency”. The Deputy Director said “The signatories can be proud to be part of this change”.