In 2016, Belize passed a new law, the Automatic Exchange of Information, in an effort to crackdown on tax evasion and money laundering. The new law allows for the exchange of financial information with other countries. In this regard, the Belize International Financial Services Association, BIFSA, held a one-day seminar to familiarize persons in the financial sector with the procedures. Love news spoke with Ava Lovell Belisle, the Treasurer of BIFSA, who told us more about the event.
Ava Lovell – Belisle Treasurer BIFSA: “As it relates to the common reporting standards, the common reporting standards was developed by the OECD which is the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development in 2014 and basically it is a platform where countries can exchange tax information globally so it is an automatic exchange of tax information. Today we invited Jose Andres Romero who we spoke to already and he presented on the CRS portion of it. He is a tax expert from Panama and in regards to the AML we had the Director of the Financial Intelligence Unit Mr. Kent Claire who gave updates as it relates to AML and reminded members of their responsibility as it relates to AML.”
Love news also spoke with one of the presenters, Jose Andres Romero, who presented on Common Reporting Standard, CRS.
Jose Andres Romero Independent Consultant/ Founder GIINTAX: “BIFSA invited me to speak to the audience, to give them a three hour seminar on the common reporting standard on how to carry out due diligence over financial accounts to identify reportable accounts that are to be reported every year on an automatic basis to the local competent tax authority in Belize which is the Income Tax Department. The Income Tax Department in turn retransmits that information to all the countries that participate in the CRS globally. So this is the second year that Belize is sending information to reportable jurisdictions about reportable accounts that are being maintained by financial institutions in Belize and they needed to contribute and give a refreshment on the due diligence and the reporting rules to the local financial community. At this point in time that information that gets shared through this system is only used for tax purposes. It is not used to prevent money laundering. However in the future what we see happening globally is a trend that once countries agree that this information that is being exchanged for tax purposes also can be used as a tool to prevent money laundering because it is basically information about account holders and beneficial owners so that information is useful not only for tax purposes but also to prevent money laundering.”
At the end of the seminar, the participants received a certificate.