International Financial Law Prof Blog

Editor: William Byrnes
Texas A&M University
School of Law

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Swiss Supreme Court Rules Tax Request Required Even If Based Upon Stolen Bank Data if Stolen From Foreign Bank

Swiss Info reports on a groundbreaking case

The convention on double taxation with Paris does not exclude the possibility to grant legal assistance, as the Swiss law does not apply to cases of stolen banking data in France, the Supreme Court said.  A former employee with UBS France in 2010 forwarded a stolen list with about 600 bank clients to the French authorities, which filed two requests for legal assistance with the Swiss tax authorities.  read the Swiss Info story : 

March 23, 2017 in GATCA | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, March 18, 2017

OECD announces further developments in international tax co-operation

In September 2014, Hong Kong indicated its support for implementing automatic exchange of financial account information (AEOI) on a reciprocal basis with appropriate partners with a view to commencing the first exchanges by the end of 2018. In order to exchange financial account information with a jurisdiction, Hong Kong (China) needs to have or enter into a double tax convention or tax information exchange agreement that allows for AEOI and to sign a competent authority agreement (CAA) with that jurisdiction.

Today, six treaty partners of Hong Kong (China) signed a competent authority agreement with Hong Kong (China) bringing the total number of CAAs to nine. Jurisdictions included Belgium, Canada, Guernsey, the Netherlands, Italy and Mexico (joining Japan, Korea and the United Kingdom). More agreements are expected in the coming months so that Hong Kong (China) will be able to exchange data with all interested and appropriate partners.

The Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes is monitoring the implementation of tax transparency standards to ensure the effective and timely delivery of the commitments made, the confidentiality of information exchanged and to identify areas where support is needed. It is also assisting its developing country members to ensure that they can also receive the benefits of the ongoing global move to automatic exchange of financial account information. 

Belgium, Canada, Guernsey, the Netherlands, Italy and Mexico sign competent authority agreement with Hong Kong (China).
OECD Headquarters, Paris, 16 March 2017
Photo: Andrew Wheeler/OECD

In addition, Panama today deposited its instrument of ratification for the Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters ("the Convention"). By doing so, Panama underlines its commitment to fighting tax evasion and avoidance and has put in place an important pre-condition for delivering on its commitment to start exchanging Common Reporting Standard information in 2018. The Convention will enter into force for Panama on 1 July 2017.

March 18, 2017 in GATCA | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

New FATCA foreign partnership (WP) agreement and withholding foreign trust (WT) agreements released, 2014 agreements expire

The IRS released Revenue Procedure 2017-21, which contains the updated withholding foreign partnership (WP) agreement and withholding foreign trust (WT) agreement.  

These WP and WT agreements allow a foreign partnership or foreign trust to assume the withholding and reporting obligations under chapters 3 (provisions relating to withholding of Irs_logotax on nonresident aliens and foreign corporations) and 4 (provisions under the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, or FATCA) for certain payments of US source income (such as interest, dividends, and royalties) made to its direct partners, beneficiaries, or owners, and in some cases, persons holding interests in the partnership or trust through one or more foreign intermediaries or flow-through entities (indirect partners).  

The revenue procedure also provides information on submitting an application or request for renewal of a WP or WT agreement. 

William Byrnes' best-selling Guide to FATCA & CRS Compliance published by LexisNexis – NEW 2017 Edition free download here

Over 1,800 pages of analysis of the FATCA and CRS compliance challenges,  79 chapters by FATCA and CRS contributing experts from over 30 countries.  Besides in-depth, practical analysis, the 2017 edition includes examples, charts, time lines, links to source documents, and compliance analysis pursuant to the IGA and local regulations for many U.S. trading partners and financial centers.   The Lexis Guide to FATCA Compliance, designed from interviews with over 100 financial institutions and professional firms, is a primary reference source for financial institutions and service providers, advisors and government departments.  The chapters include by example in-depth analysis of designing a FATCA internal policy, designing an equivalent form to the W-8, reporting accounts, reporting payments, operational specificity of the mechanisms of information capture, management and exchange by firms and between countries, insights as to the application of FATCA, CRS, and the IGAs within BRIC, SEA and European country chapters.  This fifth edition provides the financial enterprise’s FATCA compliance officer the tools for developing and maintaining a best practices compliance strategy.  No filler of forms and regs – it’s all beef !

March 14, 2017 in GATCA | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Government of Canada Efforts to Crack Down on Tax Cheats

Canadians work hard for their money and the majority pay their taxes, but some wealthy individuals participate in complex tax schemes to evade paying their fair share. The Government of Canada is working hard to crack down on offshore tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance in order to ensure a tax system that is more responsive and fair for all Canadians.

The Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of National Revenue, this week tabled the Government of Canada’s response to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Government_of_Canada_signature.svgFinance’s report entitled: The Canada Revenue Agency, Tax Avoidance and Tax Evasion: Recommended Actions. In doing so, Minister Lebouthilier accepted all the recommendations in the report, and reiterated the Government’s commitment to combat tax cheating at home and abroad and to keep Canadians apprised of these efforts.

With the Government of Canada’s investment of $444 million in the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), the Agency is delivering concrete results.The Agency has already started the work to reassure hard working Canadians that wealthy taxpayers can’t buy their way out of paying their fair share:

  • The CRA is on track to recover over $13 billion this fiscal year alone from audit efforts.
  • The CRA has increased the number of teams focused on large multinational corporations and increased the number of auditors assigned to detect offshore non-compliance.
  • The CRA has set up a team to focus exclusively on promoters of offensive tax schemes.
  • Audits of the highest risk taxpayers for four offshore jurisdictions are underway. The first two jurisdictions targeted were the Isle of Man and Guernsey. Two other jurisdictions of concern cannot be named at the moment, in order to avoid compromising these audits. So far, a total of 41,000 international financial transactions, equaling over $12 billion, have been analyzed.

This announcement reinforces the Government of Canada’s commitment to continue to build its capacity to crack down on tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance. The Government has the tools to correct non-compliant behaviors as well as when appropriate, impose serious penalties; and, communicate transparently its activities and results to Canadians.

 

Quotes

"The Government of Canada is taking action to crack down on tax cheats. When some choose not to pay their share, it places an unfair burden on the tax system. We are sending another strong signal to tax cheats: that this behaviour will not be tolerated and they will face the full force of the law. Our Government will continue to update Canadians on these important actions to ensure a tax system that is responsive, fair and meets the needs of all Canadians." 

-The Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of National Revenue

Quick Facts

  • In April 2016, the Offshore Compliance Advisory Committee (OCAC) – an independent committee composed of experts with significant legal and tax administration experience – was created to advise the Minister and the CRA on strategies to combat offshore tax evasion and avoidance. On December 5, 2016, the Minister of National Revenue received the OCAC’s report on the Voluntary Disclosures Program (VDP), which contains recommendations to enhance the VDP and improve it for the benefit of Canadians. The insight provided by the OCAC will help inform the CRA’s next steps to ensure that the VDP is delivered in a fair and effective manner. The OCAC’s report is available on the CRA website.‎
  • In June 2016, the CRA published a first conceptual study on the tax gap. The CRA will build on this report and has committed to publishing a series of additional papers on other aspects of the tax gap over the next two to three years.
  • The Agency has been tracking international electronic funds transfers (EFT) of over $10,000. Based on the information collected, the Agency is currently reviewing over 41,000 transactions, worth over $12 billion, in four jurisdictions of concern. Four additional jurisdictions will now be reviewed every year and every EFT of over $10,000 will be analyzed to identify high risk taxpayers.
  • Between April 1, 2011 and March 31, 2016, the CRA convicted 42 taxpayers with offshore links of tax evasion, involving $34 million in federal taxes evaded, court fines of $12 million, and 734 months of jail time.
  • Overall, the CRA is currently conducting audits of over 820 taxpayers and criminally investigating 20 cases of tax evasion related to offshore accounts.

Associated Links

March 5, 2017 in GATCA, Tax Compliance | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

European Commission Finds Spain Penalties for Non Reporting of Foreign-Held Assets are Discriminatory and Not Proportionate

The European Commission sent a reasoned opinion to Spain today requesting to change its rules on assets held in other EU or the European Economic Area (EEA) Member States EU Council("Modelo 720").

While the Commission takes the view that Spain has the right to require taxpayers to provide its authorities with information on certain assets held abroad, the fines charged for failure to comply are disproportionate. As fines are much higher than penalties applied in a purely national situation, the rules may deter businesses and private individuals from investing or moving across borders in the single market.  Such provisions are consequently discriminatory and in conflict with the fundamental freedoms in the EU. In the absence of a satisfactory response within two months, the Commission may refer the Spanish authorities to the Court of Justice of the EU.

February 22, 2017 in GATCA, Tax Compliance | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Thailand joins the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes

Thailand has joined the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes as its 139th member. Its membership reinforces its commitment to implement OECD both the international standard of exchange of information on request and the standard of automatic exchange of financial account information.


Thailand is now part of the international community in the fight against tax avoidance and evasion and will be working closely with all members of the Global Forum as well as the Global Forum Secretariat to reach its goals in implementing the standards on exchange of information on request and automatic exchange of financial account information.

The Global Forum's aim is to ensure that all jurisdictions adhere to the same high standard of international co-operation in tax matters. This is done through a robust monitoring and peer review process which Thailand will also be subject to.

For more information on the work of the Global Forum, visit:

February 2, 2017 in GATCA, OECD | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Monaco strengthens international tax co-operation – ratifies the Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters

Monaco today deposited its instrument of ratification for the Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters ("the Convention"). By doing so, Monaco underlines its commitment to fighting tax evasion and avoidance and takes another important step in implementing the Standard for Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information in Tax Matters developed by the OECD and G20 countries as well as automatic exchange of Country-by-Country Reports under the OECD/G20 Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) Project.

Monaco committed to implement automatic exchange of financial account information in time to commence exchanges in 2018 and was amongst the first signatories of the CRS Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement (the "CRS MCAA") and the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement on the Exchange of Country-by-Country Reports (the "CbC MCAA"), which are both based on Article 6 of the Convention.

The Convention will enter into force for Monaco on 1 April 2017.

December 27, 2016 in GATCA, OECD | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 23, 2016

Over 1300 relationships to automatically exchange information between tax authorities

Another important step to implement the OECD Common Reporting Standard (CRS) was taken, with a further 350 bilateral automatic exchange relationships being established OECDbetween over 50 jurisdictions committed to exchanging information automatically pursuant to the OECD Common Reporting Standard (CRS), starting in 2017.

There are now more than 1 300 bilateral relationships in place across the globe, most of them based on the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement on Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information (the CRS MCAA). The full list of automatic exchange relationships that are currently in place under the CRS MCAA and other legal instruments can be accessed on the Automatic Exchange Portal. With respect to the jurisdictions exchanging as of 2017, 1133 out of the 1459 possible bilateral exchange relationships are now established. The 326 non activated exchange relationships are mainly due to the fact that 6 jurisdictions were not yet in a position to provide a full set of notifications. 

Two more rounds of activations are scheduled to take place in March and June 2017 which will allow the remaining 2017 and 2018 jurisdictions to nominate the partners with which they will undertake automatic exchanges in the coming months. The next update on the latest bilateral exchange relationships will be published before the end of March 2017, with updates to follow on a periodic basis. In total, 101 jurisdictions have agreed to start automatically exchanging financial account information in September 2017 and 2018, under the CRS.

The 2017 second wave of activations of bilateral exchange relationships is a further crucial step towards the timely implementation of the OECD-developed international standard for the automatic exchange of financial account information, the CRS, and reflects the determination of jurisdictions around the world to deliver on their political commitment to fight tax evasion.

December 23, 2016 in GATCA, OECD | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, November 12, 2016

OECD releases many Exchange of Tax Information Country Peer-Reviewed Assessments

The following OECD publications are hot off the press!:

More information
Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes
Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes Peer Reviews: Dominican Republic 2016
Phase 2: Implementation of the Standard in Practice
This report contains the 2014 “Phase 2: Implementation of the Standards in Practice” Global Forum review of Dominican Republic.
 
More information
Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes
Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes Peer Reviews: Marshall Islands 2016
Phase 2: Implementation of the Standard in Practice
This report contains the 2014 “Phase 2: Implementation of the Standards in Practice” Global Forum review of Marshall Islands.
 
More information
Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes
Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes Peer Reviews: Peru 2016
Phase 1: Legal and Regulatory Framework
This publication reviews the quality of Peru's legal and regulatory framework for the exchange of information for tax purposes.
 
More information
Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes
Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes Peer Reviews: Bulgaria 2016
Combined: Phase 1 + Phase 2, incorporating Phase 2 ratings
This report contains the revised Phase 1 + Phase 2 reviews for Bulgaria, now including ratings.
 
More information
Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes
Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes Peer Reviews: Azerbaijan 2016
Phase 2: Implementation of the Standard in Practice
This report contains the 2014 “Phase 2: Implementation of the Standards in Practice” Global Forum review of Azerbaijan.
 
More information
Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes
Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes Peer Reviews: Brunei Darussalam 2016
Phase 2: Implementation of the Standard in Practice
This report contains the 2014 “Phase 2: Implementation of the Standards in Practice” Global Forum review of Brunei Darussalam.
 
More information
Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes
Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes Peer Reviews: Burkina Faso 2016
Phase 2: Implementation of the Standard in Practice
This report contains the 2014 “Phase 2: Implementation of the Standards in Practice” Global Forum review of Burkina Faso.
 
More information
Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes
Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes Peer Reviews: Dominica 2016
Phase 2: Implementation of the Standard in Practice
This report contains the 2014 “Phase 2: Implementation of the Standards in Practice” Global Forum review of Dominica.
 
More information
Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes
Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes Peer Reviews: Lesotho 2016
Phase 2: Implementation of the Standard in Practice
This report contains the 2014 “Phase 2: Implementation of the Standards in Practice” Global Forum review of Lesotho.
 
More information
Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes
Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes Peer Reviews: Morocco 2016
Phase 2: Implementation of the Standard in Practice
This report contains the 2014 “Phase 2: Implementation of the Standards in Practice” Global Forum review of Morocco.
 
More information
Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes
Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes Peer Reviews: Panama 2016
Phase 2: Implementation of the Standard in Practice
This report contains the 2014 “Phase 2: Implementation of the Standards in Practice” Global Forum review of Panama.
 
More information
Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes
Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes Peer Reviews: Romania 2016
Phase 2: Implementation of the Standard in Practice
This report contains the 2014 “Phase 2: Implementation of the Standards in Practice” Global Forum review of Romania.
 
More information
Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes
Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes Peer Reviews: Uganda 2016
Phase 2: Implementation of the Standard in Practice
This report contains the 2014 “Phase 2: Implementation of the Standards in Practice” Global Forum review of Uganda.

November 12, 2016 in GATCA, OECD | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes  held its annual meeting in Tbilisi, Georgia OECD on November 2-4, bringing together 220 delegates from 84 jurisdictions and 12 International organisations to further their shared goal of improving tax transparency and achieving a level playing field.  

The meeting marked the completion of the first round of the Forum’s peer review process, with the release of 17 new reports assessing the level of compliance with the international standard for exchange of information on request (EOIR). Click here to read the details of the reports. 

Many jurisdictions which received less than satisfactory ratings announced that they had already taken or were taking steps to address recommendations made in the review process.  Marshall Islands agreed to its report but highlighted‎ recent progress made. Panama reminded the group of recent significant action taken, both in terms of amending legislation, reorganising its competent authority and signing the multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters on 27 October 2016. Trinidad and Tobago also informed the members of their intention to address outstanding issues at the earliest. 

A special fast-track review procedure was agreed at the meeting to enable Global Forum to recognise, by mid-2017, progress made and to assess changes being made in various jurisdictions. 

A second round of peer reviews now underway will  include an assessment of the availability of and access by tax authorities to  beneficial ownwership information of all legal entities and arrangements.

Global Forum members took stock of the tremendous progress being made in the implementation of the standard for automatic exchange of information (AEOI), with 97% of  jurisdictions  committed to exchanging information in 2017 ready for these exchanges. They  noted progress and some challenges for jurisdictions committed to launching exchanges in 2018, and agreed to implement tighter monitoring of the delivery of key milestones as well as providing support for implementation. Governance arrangements for a Common Transmission System for exchanging data were also agreed.

Against a backdrop of calls for preparation of lists of non-cooperative jurisdictions, a constructive discussion  was held to ensure that all converge around the Global Forum’s transparency  standards in their respective transparency initiatives.‎ 

The Global Forum strongly reaffirmed its commitment to help its developing country members  to meet the international standards and benefit from improvements in international tax transparency. It encouraged them to move towards implementing the AEOI Standard as soon as practicable.

In the margins of the Global Forum meeting, Saudi Arabia and Uruguay took an important step towards implementing automatic exchange of financial account information in 2018 by signing the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement‎.

For additional information on the Global Forum:

November 9, 2016 in GATCA, OECD | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Panama joins international efforts against tax evasion and avoidance

Panama signed today the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters, making it the 105th jurisdiction to join the world’s leading instrument for boosting transparency and combating cross-border tax evasion. The signing shows that Panama is now implementing its commitment to fully cooperate with the international community on transparency.
 
"Panama's decision to sign the multilateral Convention is a confirmation of its commitment to take the necessary steps to meet international expectations in the fight against tax OECDevasion," OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría said during a signing ceremony with Panama's Ambassador to France, María Del Pilar Arosemena de Alemán. "It also sends a clear signal that the international community is united in its efforts to stamp out offshore tax evasion. We will continue our efforts until there is nowhere left to hide."
 
The Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes is expected to publish in early November a peer review assessment of how Panama’s legal framework and practices over the last three years match up against existing international standards of transparency and exchange of information on request. "The forthcoming report will reflect Panama’s past record on transparency issues. Today’s signing, combined with very recent legislative changes opening the door for wide-ranging international cooperation, illustrates the good disposition and commitment by Panama to move forward in the area of tax transparency," Mr Gurría said.
 
The Convention provides for all forms of administrative assistance in tax matters: exchange of information on request, spontaneous exchange, tax examinations abroad, simultaneous tax examinations and assistance in tax collection. It guarantees extensive safeguards for the protection of taxpayers' rights. It also allows automatic exchange of information on option.
 
The Convention is global, and is seen as a critical instrument for swift implementation of the new Standard for Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information in Tax Matters developed by the OECD and G20 countries and slated to go into effect from 2017. It will also be critical for implementation of automatic exchange of country by country reports under the OECD/G20 Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) Project, and is a powerful tool in the fight against illicit financial flows.
 
The 105 jurisdictions participating in the Convention can be found at: www.oecd.org/ctp/exchange-of-tax-information/Status_of_convention.pdf

November 3, 2016 in GATCA | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

The Cook Islands become the 106th jurisdiction to Agree to Automatic Sharing of Taxpayer Financial Information With Foreign Governments

Mr. Andrew Haigh, Collector of Inland Revenue of the Cook Islands signed the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters.
 
The Convention is the most powerful instrument for international tax cooperation. It provides for all forms of administrative assistance in tax matters: exchange of information on OECDrequest, spontaneous exchange, automatic exchange, tax examinations abroad, simultaneous tax examinations and assistance in tax collection. It guarantees extensive safeguards for the protection of taxpayers' rights.
 
The Convention, together with the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement on Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information, which the Cook Islands signed in October 2015, will enable the Cook Islands to fulfil their commitment to begin the first of such exchanges by 2018.
 
The Convention can also be used to swiftly implement the transparency measures of the OECD/G20 Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) Project such as the automatic exchange of Country-by-Country reports under Action 13 as well as the sharing of rulings under Action 5 of the BEPS Project. The Convention is also a powerful tool in the fight against illicit financial flows.

A free download chapter analyzing FATCA and CRS is available at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2742383
 
The Convention was developed jointly by the OECD and the Council of Europe in 1988 and amended in 2010 to respond to the call by the G20 to align it to the international standard on exchange of information and to open it to all countries, thus ensuring that developing countries could benefit from the new more transparent environment.
 
The 106 jurisdictions participating in the Convention can be found at: www.oecd.org/ctp/exchange-of-tax-information/Status_of_convention.pdf

November 2, 2016 in GATCA, OECD | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, October 28, 2016

Network of more than 1 000 relationships now in place to automatically exchange information between tax authorities

As a further step to implement the OECD Common Reporting Standard (CRS), the first series of bilateral automatic exchange relationships were established among the first batch of jurisdictions committed to exchanging information automatically as of 2017.
 
With still a year to go before the first exchanges of information on financial accounts pursuant to the OECD Common Reporting Standard (CRS), there are now more than 1 000 bilateral relationships in place across the globe, most of them based on the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement on Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information (the CRS MCAA). The full list of automatic exchange relationships that are now in place under the CRS MCAA and other legal instruments can be accessed here.
 
More jurisdictions will nominate the partners with which they will undertake automatic exchanges in the coming months. The next update on the latest bilateral exchange relationships will be published before the end of 2016, with updates to follow on a periodic basis. In total, 101 jurisdictions have agreed to start automatically exchanging financial account information in September 2017 and 2018, under the CRS.
 
This wave of activations of bilateral exchange relationships is an important step towards the timely implementation of the OECD-developed international standard for the automatic exchange of financial account information, the CRS, and reflects the determination of jurisdictions around the world to deliver on their political commitment to fight tax evasion.This section shows all bilateral exchange relationships that are currently in place for the automatic exchange of CRS information. The relationships shown included those under the OECDframework of Article 6 of the Multilateral Convention and the CRS MCAA, as well as exchange relationships based on bilateral agreements and the EU framework.

As of October 2016, and with still almost a year to go until the first exchange date on 30 September 2017, there are now already over 1000 bilateral exchange relationships activated with respect to jurisdictions committed to a 2017 timeline.

Activated exchange relationships can be sorted and displayed from both the perspective of a particular sending jurisdiction (“FROM”) or a particular receiving jurisdiction (“TO”). For each exchange relationship, the legal basis and, where appropriate, the effective date and/or the activation date are shown. The number in brackets behind each jurisdiction in the drop-down menu indicates the total number of bilateral exchange relationships that are currently activated with respect to that jurisdiction. Further information on the process for activating bilateral exchange relationships under the CRS MCAA can be found in our Questions and Answers.

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Over 1,800 pages of analysis of the FATCA and CRS compliance challenges,  73 chapters by FATCA and CRS contributing experts from over 30 countries.  Besides in-depth, practical analysis, the 2016 edition includes examples, charts, time lines, links to source documents, and compliance analysis pursuant to the IGA and local regulations for many U.S. trading partners and financial centers.   The Lexis Guide to FATCA Compliance, designed from interviews with over 100 financial institutions and professional firms, is a primary reference source for financial institutions and service providers, advisors and government departments.  The 19 newest chapters include by example an in-depth analysis of designing a FATCA internal policy that is compliant with the initial two year soft enforcement initiative, designing an equivalent form to the W-8, reporting accounts, reporting payments, operational specificity of the mechanisms of information capture, management and exchange by firms and between countries, insights as to the application of FATCA, CRS, and the IGAs within BRIC, SEA and European country chapters.  This fourth edition will provide the financial enterprise’s FATCA compliance officer the tools for developing and maintaining a best practices compliance strategy.No filler of forms and regs – it’s all beef !  See Lexis’ order site and request a copy of the forthcoming 2016 edition – http://www.lexisnexis.com/store/catalog/booktemplate/productdetail.jsp?pageName=relatedProducts&prodId=prod19190327

October 28, 2016 in GATCA, OECD | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The Bahamas Papers? Leaked documents of 175,000 Bahamian companies registered between 1990 and 2016

ICIJ publishes the details of 175,000 Bahamas companies leaked to it, in the ICIJ searchable offshore database.  A cache of leaked documents provides names of politicians and others Journalists logolinked to more than 175,000 Bahamian companies registered between 1990 and 2016.  The ICIJ reports that a former EU official is among the politicians uncovered in this Bahamas Papers.  

See ICIJ's new story here.

ICIJ wrote in its descriptive abstract that the new revelations reveal fresh information about offshore companies in the Bahamas.  The leaked Bahamian files reveal details of the offshore activities of prime ministers, ministers, princes and convicted felons.

Alongside detailed reporting, ICIJ is making details from the Bahamas corporate registry available to the public. This creates, for the first time, a free, online and publicly-searchable database of offshore companies set up in the island nation that has sometimes been called “The Switzerland of the West.”  

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October 26, 2016 in GATCA, Tax Compliance | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, October 21, 2016

Several new jurisdictions sign transfer pricing automatic sharing of corporate country-by-country reports and CRS financial information about individuals

As part of continuing efforts to boost transparency by multinational enterprises (MNEs), Brazil, Guernsey, Jersey, the Isle of Man and Latvia signed today the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement (MCAA) for the automatic exchange of Country-by-Country reports, bringing the total number of signatories to 49.  This marks a further milestone towards the implementation of the OECD/G20 BEPS Project and a significant increase in cross-border cooperation on tax matters.

The MCAA will enable consistent and swift implementation of new transfer pricing reporting standards developed under Action 13 of the BEPS Action Plan. It will ensure that tax administrations obtain a complete understanding of the way MNEs structure their operations through the annual automatic exchange of country-by-country reports, while also ensuring that the confidentiality of such information is safeguarded.

Country-by-country reporting will require MNEs to provide aggregate information annually, in each jurisdiction where they do business, relating to the global allocation of income and taxes paid, together with other indicators of the location of economic activity within the MNE group. It will also cover information about which entities do business in a particular jurisdiction and the business activities each entity engages in.

 

From left/right: Senator Ian Gorst, Jersey, Secretary-General Angel Gurría, OECD, Deputy Lyndon Trott, Guernsey and Howard Quayle MHK, Isle of Man.

Photo:OECD/Marco Illuminati

On the occasion of the signing in Paris, OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría discussed the international tax agenda with Deputy Lyndon Trott, of Guernsey, Howard Quayle MHK, of Isle of Man, and Senator Ian Gorst, of Jersey. “I congratulate Brazil, Guernsey, Jersey the Isle of Man and Latvia on their efforts toward implementing the BEPS package, and on their important role in advancing greater international tax cooperation and transparency,” Mr Gurría said.

The OECD/G20 BEPS Project set out 15 key actions to reform the international tax framework and ensure that profits are reported where economic activities are carried out and value created. BEPS is of major significance for developing countries due to their heavy reliance on corporate income tax, particularly from MNEs.

G20 Leaders endorsed a wide-ranging BEPS package in November 2015 that marks an historic opportunity for improving the effectiveness of the international tax system. The package was the result of more than two years of discussion involving all OECD and G20 countries, as well as more than a dozen developing countries. Following endorsement of the BEPS measures, the focus has shifted to designing and putting in place an inclusive framework for monitoring BEPS and supporting implementation of the measures, where currently 85 jurisdictions participate on an equal footing.

For more information about the MCAA Country-By-Country Reporting, see: www.oecd.org/tax/automatic-exchange/about-automatic-exchange/country-by-country-reporting.htm

Brazil joins the CRS MCAA

In addition to signing the Country by Country MCAA, Brazil today also signed the CRS Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement‎ (CRS MCAA), re-confirming its commitment to implementing the automatic exchange of financial account information pursuant to the OECD/G20 Common Reporting Standard (CRS) in time to commence exchanges in 2018. Brazil is the 85th jurisdiction to sign the CRS MCAA.

The Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters (the "Convention"), by virtue of its Article 6, is the legal basis for both Multilateral Competent Authority Agreements. 104 countries and jurisdictions currently participate in the Convention.

October 21, 2016 in BEPS, GATCA, OECD | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 23, 2016

Bahamas Leaks: ICIJ Exposes EU Officials, Politicians, for New Leak of Offshore Files

A cache of leaked documents provides names of politicians and others linked to more than 175,000 Bahamian companies registered between 1990 and 2016

For years, Neelie Kroes traveled Europe as one of the continent’s senior officials, warning big corporations that they couldn’t “run away” from the European Union’s rules.  What Kroes Journalists logonever told audiences – and didn’t tell European Commission officials in mandatory disclosures – was that she had been listed as a director of an offshore company in the Bahamas ...

Read the full ICIJ investigation

Alongside detailed reporting, ICIJ, Süddeutsche Zeitung and other media partners are making details from the Bahamas corporate registry available to the public. This creates, for the first time, a free, online and publicly-searchable database of offshore companies set up in the island nation that has sometimes been called “The Switzerland of the West.”

“We see it as a service to the public to make this basic kind of information openly available,” said Gerard Ryle, the director of ICIJ.

September 23, 2016 in GATCA, Tax Compliance | Permalink | Comments (0)

Pakistan becomes the 104th jurisdiction to join the most powerful multilateral instrument against offshore tax evasion and avoidance

Today, at the OECD Headquarters in Paris, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar, Minister of Finance of Pakistan, signed the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in OECDTax Matters in the presence of OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría, therewith becoming the 104th jurisdiction to join the Convention.

The Convention is the most powerful instrument for international tax cooperation. It provides for all forms of administrative assistance in tax matters: exchange of information on request, spontaneous exchange, automatic exchange, tax examinations abroad, simultaneous tax examinations and assistance in tax collection. It guarantees extensive safeguards for the protection of taxpayers’ rights.

By signing, Pakistan will send a strong signal of its commitment to fight offshore tax evasion and avoidance. Morevover Pakistan is a Member of the BEPS inclusive framework and has such will exchange automatically country by country reporting as required by Action 13 of the BEPS package. The Convention provides the ideal instrument to swiftly implement automatic exchange  so the signing and ratification of the Convention is very timely.

The Convention was developed jointly by the OECD and the Council of Europe in 1988 and amended in 2010 to respond to the call by the G20 to align it to the international standard on exchange of information and to open it to all countries, thus ensuring that developing countries could benefit from the new more transparent environment. 

Since then, the Convention has become a truly global instrument. It is seen as the ideal instrument for swift implementation of the new Standard for Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information in Tax Matters developed by the OECD and G20 countries as well as automatic exchange of country by country reports under the OECD/G20 Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) Project and is a powerful tool in the fight against illicit financial flows.

September 23, 2016 in GATCA | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Liechtenstein strengthens international tax co-operation – ratifies the Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters

Liechtenstein today deposited its instrument of ratification for the Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters ("the Convention"). By doing so, Liechtenstein OECD_globe_10cm_HD_4cunderlines its commitment to fighting tax evasion and avoidance and takes another important step in implementing the Standard for Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information in Tax Matters developed by the OECD and G20 countries as well as automatic exchange of Country-by-Country Reports under the OECD/G20 Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) Project.
 
Liechtenstein committed to implement automatic exchange of financial account information in time to commence exchanges in 2017 and was amongst the first signatories of the CRS Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement (the "CRS MCAA") and the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement on the Exchange of Country-by-Country Reports (the "CbC MCAA"), which are both based on Article 6 of the Convention.
 
The Convention will enter into force for Liechtenstein on 1 December 2016.

August 28, 2016 in GATCA, OECD | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, August 26, 2016

Multilateral Convention for tax co-operation breaks through the 100 mark

In a ceremony at OECD Headquarters in Paris today, Burkina Faso, Malaysia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Samoa signed the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters, bringing the number of participating jurisdictions to 103.

Mr. Mamadou Sangaré, Ministre Conseiller Chargé d’affaires at the Burkina Faso Embassy to France, H.E. Timothy Harris, OECDPrime Minister of Saint Kitts and Nevis, H.E. Cenio E. Lewis, High Commissioner of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to the United Kingdom, Ms. Theresa Penn, Counsellor at the Embassy of Samoa to Belgium, and H.E. Ibrahim Abdullah, Ambassador of Malaysia to France, signed the Convention on behalf of their countries in the presence of the OECD Deputy Secretary-General Mari Kiviniemi.

In addition, Andorra, Saint Kitts and Nevis, and Senegal deposited their instruments of ratification of the Convention today. As a result, the Convention will enter into force in each of these jurisdictions on 1 December 2016.

Grace Perez-Navarro, Deputy-Director of the OECD Centre for Tax Policy and Administration (CTPA) congratulated the countries. "With over 100 countries and jurisdictions now participating in this multilateral tax information sharing agreement, national efforts to combat international tax evasion and avoidance have been substantially strengthened." She urged those countries that have not yet done so to sign and deposit their instrument of ratification of the Convention so that they too can benefit from the different types of cross-border tax co-operation afforded by the Convention.

The Convention was developed jointly by the OECD and the Council of Europe in 1988 and amended in 2010 to respond to the call by the G20 to align it to the international standard on exchange of information and to open it to all countries, thus ensuring that developing countries could benefit from the new more transparent environment. Today it is the world's leading instrument for boosting transparency and combating offshore tax evasion and avoidance.

The Convention's impact grows with each new signatory; it now also serves as the premier instrument for implementing the new Standard for Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information in Tax Matters developed by the OECD and G20 countries. It can also be used to swiftly implement the transparency measures of theOECD/G20 Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) Project such as the automatic exchange of Country-by-Country reports under Action 13 as well as the sharing of rulings under Action 5 of the BEPS Project.

August 26, 2016 in GATCA, OECD | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 22, 2016

Kuwait takes key steps towards improving tax transparency

Kuwait joined the 83 current signatories to the CRS Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement ("CRS MCAA"), the key international framework agreement for putting in place the automatic exchange of information on offshore financial accounts foreseen by the OECD Common Reporting Standard (CRS). By doing so, Kuwait is re-confirming its commitment to implement automatic exchange of financial account information in time to commence exchanges in 2018.

His Excellency, Mr. Khalifa Hamada – Undersecretary of Ministry of Finance, signed the CRS MCAA in the presence of the OECD Deputy Secretary-General Rintaro Tamaki.

The Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes is monitoring the implementation of tax transparency standards to ensure the effective and timely delivery of the commitments made, the confidentiality of information exchanged and to identify areas where support is needed. It is also assisting its developing country members to ensure that they can also receive the benefits of the ongoing global move to automatic exchange of financial account information.

August 22, 2016 in GATCA, OECD | Permalink | Comments (0)