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Tuesday 23 October 2018
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Automatic extradition for tax evasion

GOVERNMENT has a bill on the Parliament agenda allowing for automatic extradition for people wanted for tax evasion in foreign jurisdictions, announced Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi. He said on the Parliament agenda there is a miscellaneous bill to deal with allowing prosecution of tax evasion matters in a reciprocal arrangement where they will extradite persons deemed as wanted in a foreign jurisdiction for tax evasion.

He explained that as the law stands that if an extradition request is made for tax evasion purposes the Government can say no. “The request from the international agencies is that we remove the discretion to say no and allow for extradition of tax purposes and that is before the Parliament right now as deficiency that has been observed in our mutual evaluation of the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force.” On the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), which requires tax authorities obtain detailed account information for US taxpayers on an annual basis, has become laws of Trinidad and Tobago as an act of Parliament and is now being operationalised by the protocol arrangements between the United States and this country.

He said that in 2011 the last government agreed that this country would become compliant member of the Global Forum on tax compliance which would require 13 versions of “FATCA” with 13 other countries in the forum or “FATCA times 13.” He noted that the result of not being compliant with the Global Forum is to be blacklisted by Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Global Forum are the same consequences as FATCA inclduing the risk of debanking, derisking, withholding taxes or limitation on trade because you are deemed to be a haven for money laundering and not compliant with tax evasion.

He said the country did nothing with respect to negotiation of agreements from 2011 to 2015 and was deemed to be non-compliant.

He reported that the current Government entered into discussions and asked for a fast tracking of compliance and for one convention.

He reported that legsilation has been tabled regarding this.

He said the Government has been hamstrung by a lack of activity of the previous government on the Global Forum and now they have gone into odium. He pointed out that while Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar has commented on the country being reflected on negatively in international reports but she did not mention it was because her administration had not dealt with the obligations to the Global Forum.

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