The Virgin Islands and Australia have agreed to a Tax Information Exchange Agreement (TIEA), which was announced Monday by Australian Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Competition Policy and Consumer Affairs, Chris Bowen and Premier Ralph T. O’Neal.

The TIEA provides for full exchange of information on request in both criminal and civil tax matters and builds upon legislation in both jurisdictions which already provides for mutual legal assistance in criminal matters.

Under the terms of the TIEA, Australia and the VI have agreed not to apply prejudicial or restrictive measures based on harmful tax practices to residents or nationals while the TIEA is in force and effective.

Further, Australia will remove any governmental references to the VI as a ‘tax haven’ and will list the VI as an ‘information exchange country’ in the Taxation Administration Regulations 1976. This will provide residents of the VI with access to reduced withholding tax rates on distributions of certain income they may receive from Australian managed investment trusts.

‘Australia is at the forefront of efforts to implement widespread international cooperation on tax matters and is pleased to welcome the BVI to its TIEA network,’ Bowen added. The TIEA also complements the strong commitment of the Governments of Australia and the BVI to international standards on anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing, as set by the Financial Action Task Force.