Premier: Inclusion On EU Tax List Is Temporary

March 13, 2019 | 36 Comments

“Bermuda’s inclusion on the EU’s list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions is only temporary,” Premier David Burt said in Parliament today [March 13], adding that in eight weeks Bermuda will have the opportunity to be removed from the list, and he expects that “this will be done as our existing laws meet the standard required by the EU.”

The Premier said, “By now Honourable Members and the public will be aware of the decision of the European Council of Finance Ministers or ECOFIN to add Bermuda to the list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions.

Yesterday’s press conference on the matter

“The Legislature has been tasked with considering and passing almost fifty pieces of legislation or other statutory instruments in support of both these efforts. This has taxed the operations of several Ministries and Departments within Government and has incurred numerous late nights and long weekends of detailed drafting and policy review.

“Unfortunately, at the end of this process on economic substance a minor technical omission in our regulations; essentially what appeared as a duplication in almost identical language in our drafts, was unintentionally omitted.

“Once the omission was discovered it was immediately addressed. Despite the good faith shown over the last year, and our immediate action, the reinsertion of the omitted line appears not to have been good enough for the EU.

“This issue is one for which we must take responsibility and as the leader of this Government, in the legislature to whom the government I lead is collectively responsible, I have no difficulty in saying ‘the buck stops at my desk.’

“Bermuda’s inclusion on the EU’s list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions is only temporary. I wish to make it clear that as at today, 13th March 2019 and in fact, even when this recommendation was made to Ministers on 6th March 2019, Bermuda was compliant then and remains so now. This is a technical issue which has already been remedied.

“In just 8 weeks, or thereabouts, Bermuda will have the opportunity to be removed from the List and I have every expectation that this will be done as our existing laws meet the standard required by the EU.

“This will be a short, but challenging period for Bermuda but I am confident that the bedrock of our decades-old reputation for sound regulation and conducting first rate business here will survive this latest threat.

“Let me close by saying clearly that this is not where we want to be; it is not where we intended to be and we are determined to secure our removal from the list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions. Bermuda remains a jurisdiction of choice for the best of business to operate and this Government will do all that is required to preserve that position.”

The Premier’s full statement follows below:

Mr. Speaker, by now Honourable Members and the public will be aware of the decision of the European Council of Finance Ministers or ECOFIN to add Bermuda to the list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions.

Mr. Speaker, let me say from the outset that this is a setback for Bermuda and it is for this reason that I, as the Premier and Leader of this Government, precede my colleague, the Honourable Minister of Finance in making this statement to this Honourable House and the public.

Honourable Members will know that for almost two years, the Government and a host of technical officers have been devoted to addressing external threats to our jurisdictional operations in the area of financial services. During my tenure as Minister of Finance and since then, we have been forced to sacrifice many domestic priorities to meet the requirements of, first, an assessment by the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force and most recently the EU’s requirements on Economic Substance.

Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members will recall that the Legislature has been tasked with considering and passing almost fifty [50] pieces of legislation or other statutory instruments in support of both these efforts. This has taxed the operations of several Ministries and Departments within Government and has incurred numerous late nights and long weekends of detailed drafting and policy review.

Unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, at the end of this process on economic substance a minor technical omission in our regulations; essentially what appeared as a duplication in almost identical language in our drafts, was unintentionally omitted. Once the omission was discovered it was immediately addressed. Despite the good faith shown over the last year, and our immediate action, the reinsertion of the omitted line appears not to have been good enough for the EU.

Mr. Speaker, there is no value in recriminations and attempts to cast blame. Section 57[2] of our constitution states the following:

The Cabinet shall be collectively responsible to the Legislature for any advice given to the Governor by or under the general authority of the Cabinet and for all things done by or under the authority of any Minister in the execution of his office.

Mr. Speaker, this issue is one for which we must take responsibility and as the leader of this Government, in the legislature to whom the government I lead is collectively responsible, I have no difficulty in saying: “the buck stops at my desk”.

Mr. Speaker, Bermuda’s inclusion on the EU’s list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions is only temporary. I wish to make it clear that as at today, 13th March 2019 and in fact, Mr. Speaker, even when this recommendation was made to Ministers on 6th March 2019, Bermuda was compliant then and remains so now. This is a technical issue which has already been remedied.

Mr. Speaker, I would invite Honourable Members and the public to take note that in just 8 weeks, or thereabouts, Bermuda will have the opportunity to be removed from the List and I have every expectation that this will be done as our existing laws meet the standard required by the EU. This is a view shared by Her Majesty’s Treasury in London who have also expressed to the Commission and publicly that they too expect Bermuda to be removed from this list based on our clear compliance with the required standard.

Mr. Speaker, this will be a short, but challenging period for Bermuda but I am confident that the bedrock of our decades-old reputation for sound regulation and conducting first rate business here will survive this latest threat.

When this Honourable House became aware of the recent Report of the Foreign Affairs Committee and the recommendations regarding Bermuda, there was significant force in the unanimity of our political approach to that threat.

Mr. Speaker, this is another one of those moments. We cannot let our partisan interests yield to any attempt to divide us as a jurisdiction. This is a “together” moment and I look forward to the support of Members opposite as we engage with the EU and continue to press Bermuda’s case for demonstrated compliance.

Mr. Speaker, let me close by saying clearly that this is not where we want to be; it is not where we intended to be and we are determined to secure our removal from the list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions. Bermuda remains a jurisdiction of choice for the best of business to operate and this Government will do all that is required to preserve that position.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker

click here Bermuda EU List

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Comments (36)

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  1. Mark says:

    You said we’d never be on it. Clueless leader of an incompetent Government.

    • Realist says:

      BERMUDA HAS BEEN BLACKLISTED BEFORE IN 2013 UNDER OBA RULE. Stop with the fake outrage. Ignorance at its finest!

      • question says:

        Bermuda has never before been on the EU blacklist.

        • truthertz says:

          Shhh. Let them believe in their own lies. It makes them fell better about their Party’s incompetence.

      • LaV says:

        BERMUDA HAS NEVER BEEN BLACKLISTED….THE PLP DID THIS TO BERMUDA BECAUSE OF THEIR INCOMPETENCE.

        REALIST IS THE MOST IGNORANT LIAR IN BERMUDA, NEXT TO OJ.

  2. truthertz says:

    Maybe, but it should have never happened in the first place.

    Who is going to be reprimanded for this monumental screw up as it wasn’t a typo at all it was the omission of whole sections that created this result!?

    • Realist says:

      BERMUDA HAS BEEN BLACKLISTED BEFORE IN 2013 UNDER OBA RULE. Stop with the fake outrage. Ignorance at its finest.

      • LaV says:

        BERMUDA HAS NEVER BEEN BLACKLISTED….THE PLP DID THIS TO BERMUDA BECAUSE OF THEIR INCOMPETENCE.

        REALIST IS THE MOST IGNORANT LIAR IN BERMUDA, NEXT TO OJ.

  3. Arrogance or Ignorance says:

    We should NEVER have been there in the first place.

    This is an international embarrassment!

    APOLOGIZE to Bermuda and to our clients for overseeing this mess!!

    • Awww says:

      Ok I apologize to Planet Earth on Bermuda’s behalf. Can we all go back to our lives now? Bunch of trolls and drama Queens!

      • Mark says:

        Sad part is you have no clue what this means – keep drinking the Koolaid fool.

  4. Joe Bloggs says:

    “Unfortunately, at the end of this process on economic substance a minor technical omission in our regulations; essentially what appeared as a duplication in almost identical language in our drafts, was unintentionally omitted.
    Once the omission was discovered it was immediately addressed. Despite the good faith shown over the last year, and our immediate action, the reinsertion of the omitted line appears not to have been good enough for the EU.”

    Ok. Please tell us what the omitted item was.

    Please tell us why the EU is accusing Bermuda of “playing games”? Surely they gave a reason to you, if not to us.

    How can it be that BVI, Cayman, the Channel Islands and others got things right but we did not? We look like a bunch of buffoons!

  5. PLP Amateur hour says:

    OMG. Did the Premier just call the biggest fail of incompetence in the history of Bermuda that has happened under his watch a “minor ommission”? Stop talking will you…it’s just make you sound even more incompetent that you are, which is very, very incompetent.

    • Realist says:

      BERMUDA HAS BEEN BLACKLISTED BEFORE IN 2013 UNDER OBA RULE. Stop with the fake outrage. Ignorance at its finest.

      • Politricks says:

        They were briefly placed on the French only blacklist due to local political issues in French Parliament and not due to our Government’s incompetence/arrogance as is the case for us now being on the EU blacklist (see the difference). We are where we are right due to the Bermuda Government intentionally omitting various sections in the final legislation (not a simple typo as the Premier would have you believe) in the hope the EU didn’t notice.

        Hence why we are on the blacklist and Cayman, BVI and other UK OTs are not.

      • LaV says:

        BERMUDA HAS NEVER BEEN BLACKLISTED….THE PLP DID THIS TO BERMUDA BECAUSE OF THEIR INCOMPETENCE.

        REALIST IS THE MOST IGNORANT LIAR IN BERMUDA, NEXT TO OJ.

  6. PLP Government Legacy says:

    Sadly for the Gvt–being BLACKLISTED by the European Union will be their legacy.

    Bermuda will pull together to get beyond this.

    • Awww says:

      Awww what a drama Queen you are! This is a storm in a teacup and nothing negative will come of it! Just a timing issue which happens every single day! OMG everyone out there just chill and have a glass of wine!

      • AWWWW says:

        Say what you like–suppose you are not taking the calls from overseas clients are you?

        It is what it is–EPIC fail on the Gvt watch and this will be their legacy.

      • Mark says:

        Only when the likes of lemmings like you stop following the Pee L Pee to our collective (that means all us) doom.

      • Reality Cheque says:

        Ok, ok, we get it. You clearly have no job, don’t own any real estate and you and your 12 cats live rent-free on your granny’s couch.
        Go wait by the mailbox for your dole check and let the grown-ups talk now.

      • Question says:

        No, a drama queen is someone who pretends a bit of pepper spray is anything more than 30 minutes of mild discomfort.

  7. sandgrownan says:

    “… as the leader of this Government, in the legislature to whom the government I lead is collectively responsible, I have no difficulty in saying: “the buck stops at my desk”.

    Good. Resign then.

    • Reality Cheque says:

      That’s still not an apology to the people who pay your salary.
      A simple “I’m sorry often goes a long way.”

      (Probably not in the case of this colossal screw-up though.)

  8. PLP Amateur hour says:

    #DemandBurtsResignation

  9. Ty says:

    Thanks PLP. Looking forward to the next step backward. Well done and keep up the good work.

  10. Ringmaster says:

    Just temporary, similar to being a bit pregnant? The end result can be extremely costly and the PLP have gambled Bermuda’s economic reputation. How else can other similar jurisdictions comply but not Bermuda? Too much time spent thinking Bermuda is spacial and the EU needs to follow Bermuda, not the other way round. Not even Fintech will solve the knock on effects.

    • Trufth says:

      Speaking of fintech – any fintech company that sets up shop now, knowing we are Blacklisted, is not a legit company.

      And before anyone says “but, umm umm, they were already in the process of setting up before this happened” know this: any LEGIT company, no matter where they are in the process of setting up and no matter how much money they have already spent would continue as-is now knowing we are a Blacklisted country. Any LEGIT company would at least take pause, regroup and explore other options.
      Period.

  11. Paul says:

    The Premier should resign and the sooner the better,he has allowed Bermuda to be put on the black list.

    • Trufth says:

      No question about it. Resign! Have the decency to do the right thing. Step down now. This debacle proves you are not at any level near competent enough to perform the job you were HIRED BY US to do. I no longer want you on my payroll.

    • rumsoak says:

      If he resigns , who is going to take over , it’s a lose lose situation .

  12. Mr. Apathy says:

    How can Burt seriously expect anyone to take his assurances at face-value without expecting a fair amount of deserved skepticism in the wake of this debacle? Being blacklisted is now part of the PLP’s legacy.

    By all accounts, the fact that we have been blacklisted by the EU is a clear of the incompetence of Burt and the PLP government to manage serious matters with potentially long-lasting negative effects to our economy. Earth to Burt & Co. sweeping it under the carpet with platitudes and hollow statements won’t fix the issue!

    25-11. The gift that just keeps on giving…

  13. Say What? says:

    What is Renee Webb doing about this?

  14. Fooled me twice says:

    Similar to a balanced budget by 2019. And the improved TEMPORARY bus schedule

  15. St.George's Passport and Immigration Control says:

    Burtcoin is a Liar.

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