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Mar 13, 2018

P.M. Talks Tax Issues

Dean Barrow

Prime Minister Dean Barrow also addressed lingering issues regarding practices on taxes which have been identified as harmful by the European Union’s Code of Conduct group. By the end of this year, these must be reviewed and updated to ensure Belize cannot be listed as a non-cooperative jurisdiction for tax purposes. Belize must comply, says the Prime Minister, even as we protest what he calls a “bushwhacking” of Belize’s efforts at economic diversification. The alternative, he said, could wreck the rest of Belize’s economy.


Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“Mr. Speaker, for some time now, developed countries have expressed what they call concerns about the ability of multinational enterprises operating across borders to use outdated international tax rules as well as the mismatch of laws between jurisdictions to undertake legal tax planning activities which significantly reduce their taxable income and, in some cases, actually provide for the non-taxation of income. The effort by the OECD Forum and the E.U. is what has caused to us to have to respond, especially after the OECD’s so-called Forum on Harmful Tax Practices.  Government has therefore made a commitment to review its International Business Companies Regime to address certain features that they deem to be harmful and not in line with their criteria. Specifically, our IBC Regime has been listed as having potentially “harmful features”, because it allows our IBCs to pay a very low tax rate in Belize. Other concerns they expressed include tax transparency, and the need to implement the so-called anti-Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (anti-BEPS) measures. Although we strongly disagree with what, dressed up in nice sounding arguments and fancy language, is nothing less than a bushwhacking of our effort at economic diversification, we are powerless to do other than comply. It is still the way of the world that the small and weak are harried and bullied by the rich and the powerful. Thus, in order to avoid the destruction the industrialized world can visit on us by way of punishment, Belize has committed to have the necessary legislative amendments in place by October 2018.”

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