Minister of Financial Services the Hon. C.V. Hope Strachan reported today that [the Bill]( to provide for the implementation of the Common Standard on Reporting and Due Diligence for Financial Account Information in Tax matters and for connected purposes now has been passed unanimously in both Houses of Parliament.

A release from the Ministry notes that the passage of this legislation *”evidences The Bahamas’ commitment to implement the OECD’s Common Reporting Standard (CRS) for the Automatic Exchange of Financial Information in 2018. The Bill sets out the requisite legal framework to begin the process for the automatic exchange which is mandated to take place on an annual basis.”*

The legislation confers the necessary powers on the Competent Authority to enter into Agreements with the government of another country for the automatic exchange of financial account information in tax matters. It also ensures the proper administration and enforcement of the Act.

Minister Strachan said that proactive steps have been taken already to identify the countries that The Bahamas intends to negotiate with on bilateral agreements for the automatic exchange of information. An initial group of countries has been prioritized – following consultation between The Ministry of Finance as the Competent Authority, The Office of the Attorney General, The Ministry of Financial Services, The Bahamas Financial Services Board and industry stakeholders.

The Ministry of Financial Services has pledged to keep the Bahamian public and all relevant stakeholders advised as the country progresses with the implementation of CRS. *”Moreover, The Bahamas will continue to strive towards meeting international standards of tax cooperation and transparency to preserve The Bahamas’ reputation as a compliant financial services jurisdiction and a financial centre of excellence,”* the release confirmed.

MoFS Official Release – See pdf below