Bermuda warned over sovereignty rights on tax haven status

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Bermuda warned over sovereignty rights on tax haven status

Bermuda's finance minister Curtis Dickinson has come under fire over his response to the G7 push for a minimum corporate income tax, from one of the international financial centres' fiercest critics Tax Research UK's Richard Murphy, in his regular blog today (23 June).

Murphy was responding to an interview with the Financial Times, in which Curtis Dickinson, Bermuda's finance minister, had said he was loath to introduce new levies while the island tax haven of about 64,000 people was still struggling to recover from both the Covid-19 pandemic and the financial crisis of 2008.

"Bermuda has a right to determine for itself what it thinks is an appropriate tax system for its jurisdiction," he said.

Now Bermuda is complaining that their sovereignty is being impinged. You literally could not make the hypocrisy inherent in that claim up."

"We have a system in place for 200 years. It's not perfect. It does require some adjustment. But we would like to do that on our own and not have someone tell us to change our system to fit some global initiative... I would say it's a sovereignty issue."

But Murphy , who also visiting professor at Sheffield, City and Anglia Ruskin Universities, said: "Bermuda has for decades been seeking to impose its tax will on other countries. It has deliberately permitted itself to be captured by a financial services industry elite to effectively be part of a direct attack on the democratic freedom of countries to tax as they will.

"Bermuda hoped to always get away with this, even though in the article it is admitted that the result is a deeply regressive tax system in Bermuda that hits the poorest there hardest (not that, I suspect, the financial services elite much care about that)."

Murphy added: "And now Bermuda is complaining that their sovereignty is being impinged. You literally could not make the hypocrisy inherent in that claim up.

"I doubt there will be anyone, anywhere, with sympathy with Bermudan on this. Or Jersey, Cayman, the Isle of Man, or anywhere else of similar ilk. For them the game of peddling abuse is nearly up, and not a moment too soon. Mr Dickinson needs to shed his tears in private. The world will not be taken in again."