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Big year for tax treaty negotiations

17 December 2009

Two new Tax Information Exchange Agreements were signed with Anguilla, and the Turks and Caicos Islands on 11 December bringing the total number of TIEAs signed this year to 12. For more information see the government media statement and the text of the two latest agreements.


Hon Peter Dunne
Minister of Revenue

MEDIA STATEMENT

Dunne: 12 international tax info exchange agreements this year

New Zealand has signed 12 international tax information exchange agreements (TIEAs) this year, Revenue Minister Peter Dunne said in announcing agreements with Anguilla, and the Turks and Caicos Islands.

"These two agreements conclude a very busy and productive year for tax treaty negotiations," he said.

TIEAs are bilateral treaties that provide for full exchange of information on civil and criminal matters between two countries. They are considered to be an important benchmark for offshore financial centres in meeting OECD standards for transparency and the exchange of information.

"The signing of TIEAs is part of a new international emphasis on tax co-operation that is already enabling Inland Revenue to get more and better information from its treaty partners concerning overseas transactions and investments made by New Zealand tax residents," Mr Dunne said.

"Global tax co-operation is not just a passing trend. The progressive negotiation of TIEAs means that in the foreseeable future we will get to the point where there are simply no more safe overseas tax havens."

He said New Zealand has also advanced a number of other significant tax treaty negotiations this year, including a new double tax agreement (DTA) signed with Australia in June. Once in force, the DTA will mean lower withholding taxes on dividend and royalty payments between the two countries and make pensions that are tax-free in one country also exempt in the other when recipients move across the Tasman.

"A new DTA was also signed with Singapore in August, which replaces the earlier treaty signed in 1973 between the two countries, while several other DTAs were recently updated, including our Agreements with the United States and Belgium," Mr Dunne said.

"DTAs play an important role in facilitating trade and investment between New Zealand and our partner jurisdictions by reducing tax impediments.

"A significant effort will be required to bring the 16 new treaties into force," Mr Dunne said.

"In the case of the key treaties with Australia and the United States, that work is well advanced."

Mark Stewart - Press Secretary, Office of Hon Peter Dunne
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