"The Cook Islands, a sovereign nation based on the Westminster style of government is a group of 15 islands in the South Pacific Ocean south west of Tahiti and due south of and on the same time zone as Hawaii. Our geographic location allows the Cook Islands to have a strategic advantage in dealing with both the Asian and US markets"
Very broadly speaking the Cook Islands applies the international tax principles of residency of the person or company (i.e. where do they live or do business?) to determine whether the Cook Islands Government will apply tax.
If you or your company are not resident in the Cook Islands and do not do business here you will not be subjected to Cook Islands tax, this would include your account with CSB. However, it is likely that you will be subject to tax in your ‘home jurisdiction’ (i.e. where those rules do apply to you).
The Cook Islands currently has in force 21 Tax Information Exchange Agreements and has committed to the OECD Automatic Exchange of Information under CRS in 2018. It did not sign an Inter-Governmental Agreement with the USA for FATCA but rather individual institutions entered into agreements direct with the IRS, CSB’s GIIN is J1W6BD.99999.SL.184.
In respect to Anti Money Laundering / Countering Financial Terrorism the Cook Islands has a comprehensive suite of legislation to provide the infrastructure to manage this. This legislation can be found on the Cook Islands Financial Intelligence Unit’s website here.
To better understand the level of the Cook Islands AML / CFT infrastructure the OECD’s Asia Pacific Group on money laundering rated the Cook Islands in the top 20% (higher even than New Zealand and Australia) of 165 nations for implementing international regulatory standards. This report can be accessed here.
The Financial Supervisory Commission, the Cook Islands Regulator on the 31st of October 2016 released a public letter that further details the regulatory standards that banks and other financial service providers are subject to in the Cook Islands. This letter can be viewed in full here.
Privacy and Secrecy are two very different concepts. Secrecy in the form of numbered accounts, bearer shares, anonymous accounts, nominee owners and prohibition of account holder disclosure are from the movies and days gone by. CSB and the Cook Islands require complete information on our customer so that we know them, verify the information we base our knowledge on and understand their business & transactions. This information is kept very private by CSB but may be made available to other parties in certain circumstances. Details on this can be found here.