Bahamas, Belize, Cook Islands & Gibraltar Commit to OECD Harmful Tax Practices

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Wednesday, May 1, 2002
Bruce Zagaris
In March 2002, the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development scored significant victories when the Bahamas, Belize, the Cook Islands and Gibraltar all made commitments to the harmful tax practices policies. On March 14, 2002, Gibraltar committed to improve the transparency of its tax and regulatory systems and to establish effective exchange of information for tax matters with OECD countries by December 31, 2005. On March 18, 2002, the Bahamas announced its willingness to participate in the initiative and signed a commitment . Because of the size of its international financial services, the Bahamas was perhaps the most important jurisdiction of the four to commit. The four new commitments ensure the accelerated push towards enhanced transparency and information exchange on the one hand, and increased international tax enforcement cooperation on the other hand. In connection with the latter, the OECD trimmed the larger harmful tax practices initiative temporarily when the Bush Administration unexpectedly withdrew support for all but the existing tow elements: transparency and information exchange.