Richards warns against tax changes
The cost of collecting taxes on income would be enormous and would require a “swelling” of the civil service, a former Minister of Finance has warned.
In an opinion piece in today’s Royal Gazette, Bob Richards also said the burden of such taxes, although aimed at reducing inequity between rich and poor, falls on the middle and working classes, because the wealthy can always find ways to reduce their tax burden.
Mr Richards made the statements in the wake of a call from the Premier, David Burt, for a discussion on tax reform and an advisory panel’s suggestions that Bermuda should introduce individual and corporate income tax.
Mr Richards, who was in the One Bermuda Government from 2012 to 2017, said that if an income tax on individual incomes was introduced, there would have to be one on corporate income taxes as well to prevent tax avoidance.
Nor would a low corporate tax rate defuse attacks from international organisations like the European Union and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, as the Fiscal Responsibility Panel had advised Government.
He said: "They are convinced that tax havens steal their tax revenues and are, by definition, illegitimate — even though this is demonstrably false. They want to eliminate us, period!“
He dismissed arguments that Britain’s departure from the EU meant Bermuda had lost a valuable ally in defence of international financial centres.
“I went to battle for Bermuda in Europe, fighting blacklists from France and similar threats from Brussels,” he said. “My experience was Britain promised support but never delivered.”