The Cayman Islands Government today announced the extension of comprehensive tax information assistance to seven new countries, under provisions in the Tax Information Authority Law introduced in 2008, which do not require a bilateral treaty.

The seven countries now able to request tax information from the Cayman Islands under this unilateral mechanism are Germany, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Luxembourg, Slovak Republic and Switzerland. Requests may be made in relation to both civil/administrative and criminal tax matters.

*”The Cayman Islands was one of the first jurisdictions to commit to OECD standards for transparency and exchange of information in tax matters. We have upheld that commitment by working with OECD and non-OECD colleagues to design effective standards, by reflecting those standards in our domestic regime, and then embarking on a programme to extend assistance arrangements to other countries; the first being our tax information agreement with the U.S. signed in 2001,”* said the Leader of Government Business, the Honourable Kurt Tibbetts.

Minister Tibbetts added, *”Our actions today in extending tax information assistance to seven more countries is the culmination of many months of technical work, and we are especially grateful to Germany for the insight they were able to provide by virtue of having a unilateral mechanism for cooperation in tax matters themselves.”*

The unilateral mechanism is complementary to Cayman’s bilateral negotiation programme. The latest development in that area was the conclusion of technical negotiations with the Nordic countries (Denmark, Faroe Islands, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden) for a series of bilateral agreements, including tax information agreements. The seven tax information agreements are currently going through the political authorisation process on both sides, to enable execution at a signing ceremony in Stockholm on 1 April 2009, with the commercial agreements to follow in June 2009.

Minister Tibbett also reported that the Cayman Islands looks forward in the immediate term to concluding bilateral arrangements with the United Kingdom.