Revenue Management News

Revenue Management News

OECD Tax News Alert

The Cook Islands become the 106th jurisdiction to join the most powerful international instrument against offshore tax evasion and avoidance

 28/10/2016 –Today at the OECD Headquarters in Paris, Mr. Andrew Haigh, Collector of Inland Revenue of the Cook Islands, signed the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters.

The Convention is the most powerful instrument for international tax cooperation. It provides for all forms of administrative assistance in tax matters: exchange of information on request, spontaneous exchange, automatic exchange, tax examinations abroad, simultaneous tax examinations and assistance in tax collection. It guarantees extensive safeguards for the protection of taxpayers' rights.

 The Convention, together with the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement on Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information, which the Cook Islands signed in October 2015, will enable the Cook Islands to fulfil their commitment to begin the first of such exchanges by 2018.

 The Convention can also be used to swiftly implement the transparency measures of the OECD/G20 Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) Project such as the automatic exchange of Country-by-Country reports under Action 13 as well as the sharing of rulings under Action 5 of the BEPS Project. The Convention is also a powerful tool in the fight against illicit financial flows.

 The Convention was developed jointly by the OECD and the Council of Europe in 1988 and amended in 2010 to respond to the call by the G20 to align it to the international standard on exchange of information and to open it to all countries, thus ensuring that developing countries could benefit from the new more transparent environment.

 The 106 jurisdictions participating in the Convention can be found at: www.oecd.org/ctp/exchange-of-tax-information/Status_of_convention.pdf

 Media queries should be directed to Pascal Saint-Amans, Director of the OECD Centre for Tax Policy and Administration (+33 6 26 30 49 23).


Import Entry Transaction Fee

Section 64 of the Customs Revenue and Border Protection Act 2012 and Regulations 33 require an Import Entry Transaction Fee (ITF) to be paid to Customs when an import entry is filed.

The Import Entry Transaction Fees are payable to Customs primarily to meet the maintenance fees payable on the electronic import entry processing system, as well as to assist in meeting costs and expenses incurred by Customs in undertaking the functions and duties relating to the importation of goods.

 

From 1 July 2016 the transaction fee, plus VAT, will be collected on all import entries lodged with Customs. 

The transaction fees are as follows:

               CUSMOD Electronic Import Entry:               $10 (plus VAT) per entry        $11.50

               Manual Import Entry:                                      $20 (plus VAT) per entry        $23.00

For deferred import entries the transaction fee will be collected and paid on the 20th of the following month.

Use of the updated CICS 056 and 056A

Section 62 of the Customs Revenue and Border Protection Act 2012 and Regulation 31 requires goods imported into the Cook Islands entered on a Customs Import Entry Form.

Forms CICS 056 and 056A the updated Import Entry Forms.

From 1 July 2016 we will no longer accept any other Import Entry Forms.


E Tax Online Official Launch

The Minister of Finance, the Honourable Mark Brown launched the Cook Islands online E Tax lodgment system on Friday, 6 November 2015 at the National Auditorium.

The E Tax online system allows taxpayers to easily comply with their tax obligations by making their tax records readily accessible and providing the ability for taxpayers to file and pay their VAT and PAYE returns and make payments electronically. The E Tax system also allows tax agents to access limited information about their clients. In the coming year Revenue Management intend to extend the E Tax service to include the payment and lodgement of Income Tax, Company Tax and Withholding Tax returns. This online service will allow all taxpayers, whether resident or non-resident for tax purposes, to have greater access to their tax records and file and pay their taxes anywhere in the world.

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Press Release: Signing of TIEA between the Cook Islands and the Kingdom of Belgium

The Cook Islands signed its 21st Tax Information Exchange Agreement (“TIEA”) with the Kingdom of Belgium in Brussels on 21 August 2015.  The signing signifies further progress by the Cook Islands in meeting our international tax obligations.

The Minister of Finance, Honourable Mark Brown stated that “these signings are an important step for the Cook Islands in demonstrating its international cooperation on tax matters and to the principles of transparency and effective exchange of information”, and that “the entering into of this agreement is further evidence of the Cook Islands’ commitment to the Global Forum’s efforts in creating a level playing field in the international arena, encompassing the principals of transparency and effective exchange of information for tax purposes.”

This signing makes a total of 21 TIEAs entered into by the Cook Islands, and demonstrates that the Cook Islands has become a leading jurisdiction in the fight against tax evasion and avoidance.  The TIEAs allow for these countries and the Cook Islands to request information from each other where a specific taxpayer is under investigation, and where there is reason to believe that relevant information is held in the other country.

Recently the Cook Islands underwent a Phase 2 Peer Review by the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes, which resulted in a largely compliant rating, confirming our advancements and good international standing in this area. 

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8 September 2015


USE OF COOK ISLANDS DEPARTURE CARDS TO CEASE AFTER 1 AUGUST 2015

The Prime Minister, Minister for Tourism and Minister for Immigration, the Honourable Henry Puna, announced today that the requirement for people departing the Cook Islands to complete a departure form would cease from 1 August 2015.   

The Prime Minister indicated that he had been approached in recent months by representatives of the tourism industry to review the process of requiring international passengers leaving the Cook Islands having to fill out a departure card.

“We have balanced our need to collect information on arrival and departures and the corresponding bureaucracy which has become redundant with the onset of technology.  The completion of a departure card, whilst appropriate many years ago to ensure the credibility of our immigration system, has become a needless process because of our new system which does the work for us.  I am particularly happy with the way the different agencies got together, recognised that an improvement was need, and worked through this issue to come up with a solution, including MFEM, MFAI, FSC and Tourism.”

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