Mr. Torsten Fensby, Nordic Council of Ministers, announced today that the Nordic countries and the British Virgin Islands have agreed to conclude tax information exchange agreements as well as a series of commercial agreements in May.

He said the tax information exchange agreements are part of a joint campaign by the parties to advance the global efforts to stop tax evasion. *”The tax information exchange agreements will enable the tax authorities to access information about any persons who are seeking to evade payment of tax on income and capital investment activities and will also help disclosing assets that have not been reported in their home country. Information to be exchanged includes information on beneficial ownership of companies in the whole ownership chain; settlors, trustees and beneficiaries of trusts, and information held by banks and financial institutions.”*

Reportedly, the agreements will be signed at a ceremony held in conjunction with the Nordic Council’s Finance Ministers meeting in Reykjavik on 18 May, following finalisation of a political process.

Mr. Fensby says the agreements are a continuation of a comprehensive project under which the Nordic countries have entered into similar agreements with the Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey and will also sign such agreements with the Cayman Islands and Bermuda in April. Furthermore, advanced negotiations are currently underway with Aruba and the Netherlands Antilles. Negotiations are also ongoing with other jurisdictions.

The British Virgin Islands committed to the OECD standards in 2002 and entered into its first tax information exchange agreement with the United States the same year. It subsequently concluded such agreements with Australia and the United Kingdom in 2008.