2016 November: On 28 October 2016 Andrew Haigh, of the Revenue Management Division of the Cook Islands Ministry of Finance and Economic Management, signed the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters (the “Convention”) on behalf of the Cook Islands government.
The Convention is the most powerful instrument for international tax cooperation. It provides for all forms of administrative assistance in tax matters, most notably the automatic exchange of financial information as required by the OECD’s Common Reporting Standard (“CRS”).
The Cook Islands signed the CRS Mutual Competent Authority Agreement in October 2015 which, together with the Convention, will enable the Cook Islands to fulfil its commitment to the automatic exchange of such information by 2018.
In order to incorporate the CRS into its domestic laws, the Cook Islands enacted the Income Tax (Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information and Other Matters) Amendment Act 2016 (the “Amendment”) on 26 September 2016. The Amendment provides for the provision of financial information by Cook Islands financial institutions in accordance with CRS.
The signing of the Convention and the Amendment is further evidence of the Cook Islands’ continued commitment to meeting its international obligations and providing financial services in accordance with international standards and best practice.