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International Tax Experts for Treasury 22 October 2004

The Isle of Man Government is recruiting three international experts to advise on global taxation issues and market access opportunities.

The move was revealed by Treasury Minister Allan Bell MHK today (Thursday, October 21, 2004) when he presented Government's Economic Strategy to Tynwald.

Mr Bell announced that the Island was further sharpening its international focus with the creation of a new International Tax and Policy Unit within Treasury, and a new Market Access Group including high level representation from the local business community.

Both groups will work closely together within the framework of the Economic Strategy and the Island's Taxation Strategy, which includes the introduction by 2006 of a uniform system of business taxation based on a zero rate of income tax for all companies, apart from certain designated activities for which a ten per cent rate will apply. The Assessor of Income Tax will belong to both groups.

Additional international experience will be provided by three external advisers appointed on a contract basis. Mr Bell named two of the advisers as Richard Hay, a London-based lawyer with the firm Stikeman Elliott, who has already advised the Island on trust legislation, and Bob Harland, also London-based, recently retired as a tax partner with PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The Minister said:

"Both Mr Hay and Mr Harland bring significant international commercial experience, extensive knowledge of the issues and opportunities facing offshore jurisdictions, together with well established knowledge of the Isle of Man itself.

"I am confident that their appointment will provide a significant strengthening of the Island's ability to respond and indeed take a more proactive stance in relation to international tax and market access issues."

The third adviser will be identified once formalities are concluded.

Mr Bell told Tynwald:

"The Treasury is in the process of finalising negotiations to obtain the services, upon retirement, of a senior government official from the taxation authorities of a European member state. This person has extensive experience of negotiating taxation agreements and has worked closely with the EU and OECD on taxation matters."

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