Tax Information Exchange Agreements establish a means for countries to exchange information concerning taxes with each other. The agreements are treaties jointly negotiated and signed by two countries. The Bahamas has entered into a number of tax information exchange agreements, or TIEAs, with other countries.
TIEAs allow countries that have different tax laws and requirements, that have different definitions of crimes related to money laundering, or that have no other agreement as to sharing information to exchange tax information. The information exchanged may assist in criminal tax investigations, help track down tax evaders, and generally help the countries that are parties enforce their laws.
For a country to obtain tax information pursuant to a TIEA, it must make a request that follows all of the treaty provisions, which can be quite specific. Requests have to set forth the exact information sought and all the evidence supporting the request. In particular, most TIEAs require a prima facie showing that the country needs the tax information for a proper reason under the treaty.
Countries can deny requests that do not meet the treaty's criteria. The Bahamas may deny a request if the request is too general, if it is against the Bahamian public interest, or if the requester has not exhausted all possibilities of obtaining the information in its own country. Any information that is provided under a TIEA must be kept strictly confidential and not disclosed to other countries or authorities without the disclosing country's consent.
Currently, The Bahamas has tax information exchange agreements with about 30 countries, including the United States and the U.K. Representatives from the Bahamian Ministry of Finance negotiate TIEAs with other countries.
To find out more about tax information exchange laws in The Bahamas, visit Gonsalves-Sabola Chambers online or call the office at +1 242 326 6400.