30/09/2010 - The Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes today issued phase one peer reviews covering the legal and regulatory frameworks for transparency and exchange of tax information in Bermuda, Bostwana, Cayman Islands, India, Jamaica, Monaco, Panama, Qatar.
The reports describe each jurisdiction’s rules for ensuring that information is available, how it can be accessed by competent authorities and the mechanisms in place to exchange the information with foreign tax authorities.
The reports include recommendations on how these jurisdictions can improve their co-operation in international tax matters. The deficiencies identified commonly related to access to information including information on nominees, trusts and the need to maintain good accounting records.
A second stage of the reviews, examining the eight countries’ exchange of information practices, will take place by 2012. Botswana and Panama will have to adequately address the phase 1 recommendations before proceeding to a phase 2 review.
The Chair of the Global Forum, Mike Rawstron of Australia, said at the end of the meeting: “Jurisdictions are taking the standards seriously. These reports show that this is not just a numbers game, it is about having in place a legal and regulatory framework which enables an effective exchange of information.”
More than 100 jurisdictions and observers are now part of the Global Forum, with Botswana, Jamaica and Kenya welcomed as the newest members this week. All these jurisdictions, as well as others identified by the Global Forum as relevant to its work, are participating in reviews of their systems for the international exchange of information in tax matters.
Ms. Lim Hwee Hua, Singapore’s Second Minister of Finance noted in her introductory remarks that, “Just one year into its three year mandate, the Global Forum has already made good progress in many areas.”
She went on to say, “The Global Forum allows all members, whether large or small, developed or developing, to participate on an equal footing.”
In addition to adopting these eight peer review reports, the Global Forum released the 2010 Global Forum assessment and identified a strategy, working with the OECD, with other international organisations and with regional groupings to provide technical assistance to all interested jurisdictions so that they can fully implement the standard.
The full Statement of Outcomes of this meeting and more information on the peer review reports can be found on the Global Forum’s website: www.oecd.org/tax/transparency. The next Global Forum meeting will be held in Bermuda in 2011.
The latest annual assessment of the exchange of information in tax matters, Tax Co-operation 2010: Towards a Level Playing Field, launched in Singapore, covers more than 90 jurisdictions, including all OECD and G20 countries.
Further information on OECD’s work on taxation can be found at: www.oecd.org/tax