The financial services ministry brought together some of the jurisdiction’s major critics at a conference last week on the issue of tax transparency. Minister Wayne Panton and his team stressed the importance of engaging with the critics of Cayman’s financial service sector and the issues of transparency when they invited representatives from long-standing anti-tax haven NGOs and representatives from the OECD to the island to talk about the issue of international tax transparency.
At the Tax Transparency in the Global Financial Services Ecosystem last Thursday, local experts, including Tim Ridley and Cayman Finance CEO Jude Scott, engaged in panel debates and discussions with local industry representatives, as well as those from overseas, such as Alex Cobham from the Tax Justice Network. The aim was to confront the differences that exist when it comes to offshore finance and international tax and find some common ground.
As he opened the conference, Panton noted the complexities of the global tax ecosystem. He said that as business becomes increasingly international, a real need has emerged for common operating tax frameworks, but it is not without its challenges and inequities. He said the point of the conference was to dig into the workings of the tax ecosystem and put it under a microscope and engage in face-to-face dialogue.
“While some of us have different views of global tax, I do believe that we share a common objective: to make something better. In some form or another, the ecosystem has existed since men and women recognised the need to raise public funds, to support the public good; and that purpose remains unchanged,” he said ahead of the conference, which included a keynote address from the OECD tax expert Pascal Saint-Amans.
“My hope… is that during this conference we can have a fruitful conversation about how to improve the global tax framework in a fair, equitable, and responsible manner. But to be clear, as we have this conversation, no one here is an opponent. Misunderstandings can be resolved, prejudices can be quelled and energies can be focused on real issues, rather than on phony debates with no substance to give them merit.”