On Monday, 15th June 2015 the Cook Islands and Canada signed a Tax Information Exchange Agreement (TIEA) in Wellington. The Cook Islands High Commissioner His Excellency Tekaotiki Matapo signed the Agreement on behalf of the Cook Islands, with the Canadian High Commissioner Her Excellency Caroline Chretien signing on behalf of Canada.
The signing is testament to the commitment of both countries to working with the global community to promote international cooperation in tax matters. The TIEA allows for either Party to request information from the other country where a specific taxpayer is under investigation, and where there is reason to believe that relevant information is held in the other country. The Agreement strikes a balance between privacy and the need for jurisdictions to enforce their tax laws.
These signings were 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. The entering into of this agreement is further evidence of the Cook Islands’ commitment to the OECD’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 20 TIEAs entered into by the Cook Islands, and demonstrates that the Cook Islands has become a leading jurisdiction in the fight against tax evasion. The Cook Islands recently underwent a Phase 2 Peer Review by the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes, which resulted in a positive report for the Cook Islands.