(SNO) — The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has blacklisted Saint Lucia and a number of other Caribbean countries with Citizenship by Investment Programs, saying they threaten international efforts to combat tax evasion.
The OECD blacklisted 21 jurisdictions in a report released on Tuesday after it said it had analysed over 100 Citizenship By Investment (CBI)/Residency By Investment (RBI) schemes.
The Caribbean countries blacklisted are Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Lucia, and St. Kitts and Nevis,
The Paris-based organisation said the schemes from these countries, and others blacklisted, potentially pose a high risk to the integrity of the OECD’s Common Reporting Standard (CRS).
The report said that a second citizenship can be potentially misused to hide assets abroad.
“While residence and citizenship by investment (CBI/RBI) schemes allow individuals to obtain citizenship or residence rights through local investments or against a flat fee for perfectly legitimate reasons, they can also be potentially misused to hide their assets offshore by escaping reporting under the OECD/G20 Common Reporting Standard (CRS),” the report stated. “In particular, Identity Cards and other documentation obtained through CBI/RBI schemes can potentially be misused abuse to misrepresent an individual’s jurisdiction(s) of tax residence and to endanger the proper operation of the CRS due diligence procedures.”
The report went to say that “potentially high-risk CBI/RBI schemes are those that give access to a low personal income tax rate on offshore financial assets and do not require an individual to spend a significant amount of time in the location offering the scheme”.
The CRS is the flagship initiative of the OECD and is a framework for countries to cooperate in the fight against tax evasion by sharing information. It allows for details of bank accounts an individual might hold abroad to be sent to their home tax office.