Tuesday, March 17, 2015
OECD Releases 9 Country Evaluations On Implementation of Exchange of Tax Information To Combat Tax Evasion
The Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes published today 9 new peer review reports, including a Phase 1 Supplementary Report for Switzerland, demonstrating continuing progress toward implementation of the international standard for exchange of information on request.
The OECD welcomed Switzerland’s recent moves towards greater tax transparency, which are sufficient to remove the country from a category of jurisdictions blocked from moving forward in the peer review process. Switzerland will now be assessed on its effective implementation of exchange of information on request; that report is due in the second half of 2016.
Phase 1 reports on El Salvador and Mauritania assessed their legal and regulatory framework for transparency and exchange of information. Both countries will move to the next stage of the review process, which will assess exchange of information practices during the first half of 2015.
The Global Forum also reviewed exchange of information practices through Phase 2 peer review reports in six jurisdictions. It allocated ratings for compliance with the individual elements of the international standard, as well as an overall rating for each jurisdiction. Five jurisdictions – Aruba, Cook Islands, Hungary, Portugaland Uruguay - received an overall rating of “Largely Compliant.” Curaçao was rated “Partially Compliant.”
Switzerland’s supplementary report assesses the improvements it has made to its legal framework and exchange of tax information mechanisms since the adoption of the Phase 1 report in 2011. Switzerland has introduced a new law on international administrative assistance, which specifically states that it is applicable to all EOI mechanisms. Switzerland has also updated its treaty network, by signing new bilateral agreements and the Convention on Mutual Assistance in Tax Matters. Switzerland currently has exchange of information mechanisms with 127 jurisdictions. 92 of these meet the international standard, and of these, 42 are currently in force. Switzerland qualifies for a Phase 2 review, which will be launched in the second half of 2015.
With the release of the latest batch of reviews, the Global Forum has now completed 183 peer reviews and assigned compliance ratings to 76 jurisdictions that have undergone Phase 2 reviews. Four jurisdictions are rated as Non-Compliant, while ten are now rated Partially Compliant. There are still 11 jurisdictions which remain blocked from moving to a Phase 2 review, due to insufficiencies in the legal and regulatory framework. A supplementary review of Marshall Islands has been launched in February 2015, to assess changes to its legal framework since a 2012 Phase 1 review, in order to comply with the international standard.
Global Forum members are working together to design a new process for monitoring and reviewing the implementation of the new international standard for the automatic exchange of tax information. The Global Forum is also working on revision of its Terms of Reference, in preparation for a new round of reviews on exchange of information on request, in particular to include new transparency requirements on beneficial ownership of legal entities.
By the way - International Financial Law Professor blogger William Byrnes' 2015 edition of the LexisNexis® Guide to FATCA Compliance is now available!