The international community has taken new steps to strengthen transparency and boost the comprehensive exchange of information between governments worldwide.
Members of the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes took significant steps during a 21-22 meeting in Jakarta, Indonesia to implement a global call for greater international co-operation against tax evasion. Actions taken include:
•Publication of new compliance ratings for 50 countries and jurisdictions on practical implementation of the Global Forum’s information exchange standard. Eighteen jurisdictions are rated Compliant [i], 26 jurisdictions are rated Largely Compliant [ii], two jurisdictions are rated Partially Compliant [iii] and four jurisdictions are rated Non-Compliant [iv]. Fourteen additional jurisdictions [v] were not given compliance ratings, pending further improvements to their legal and regulatory frameworks for exchange of information in tax matters. (see full compliance ratings)
•Establishment of a new Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI) Group, open to all interested countries and jurisdictions, to prepare the move towards AEOI implementation. Italy was elected chair of this group.
•Agreement for further work aimed at strengthening the definition of beneficial ownership and the availability of this type of information.
•Agreement that the Forum continue monitoring implementation of the transparency and information exchange standard, while further developing its Terms of Reference and review processes.
The Global Forum brings together 121 countries and jurisdictions for wide-ranging discussions on transparency and exchange of information. Its sixth meeting attracted more than 200 delegates from 86 member jurisdictions and 11 international organisations. During the Jakarta meeting, six new countries became members: Azerbaijan, Dominican Republic, Lesotho, Romania, Senegal and Ukraine.
Working through a peer review process, the Forum assesses the adequacy of its members’ legal and regulatory framework for exchange of information in tax matters (Phase 1 review) as well as the application of this framework (Phase 2 review). To date, 124 peer reviews have been completed, including 50 Phase 2 reviews.
Dr. Muhammad Chatib Basri, Minister of Finance of Indonesia, congratulated all Forum members for progress to date: “At a time where most economies are extremely fragile, having so many jurisdictions working together and agreeing on very sensitive outcomes to improve international tax cooperation is key and extremely positive. I have no doubt that this is the kick-off to a new era in the global tax environment."