International Financial Law Prof Blog

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

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:

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/intfinlaw/2016/11/the-global-forum-on-transparency-and-exchange-of-information-for-tax-purposes-held-its-annual-meeting-in-tbilisi-georgia-on.html

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