The Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes published today 13 new peer review reports demonstrating progress toward implementation of the international standard for exchange of information on request. The Global Forum also issued compliance ratings for 10 jurisdictions.
A Phase 1 report for Georgia assessed the country’s legal and regulatory framework for transparency and exchange of information. Georgia qualifies for the next stage of the review process, which will assess its exchange of information practices, during the second half of 2014.
The Global Forum reviewed exchange of information practices through Phase 2 peer review reports in ten jurisdictions and allocated ratings for compliance with the individual elements of the international standard, as well as an overall rating. Five jurisdictions – Andorra, Anquilla, Antiqua and Barbuda, Indonesia and Saint Lucia - received an overall rating of “Partially Compliant.”Four others – Chile, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montserrat and St. Kitts and Nevis - received an overall rating of “Largely Compliant.” Mexico was rated as Compliant with Global Forum standards.
Jurisdictions continue requesting supplementary reviews that assess steps taken to address gaps in their legal frameworks and exchange of information practices identified in previous reviews. Niue has been blocked from moving to Phase 2 of its review process due to significant gaps in its legal framework. A supplementary review concluded that key changes to its legislation allow Niue to move to Phase 2 of the review process.
Jersey was rated as “Largely Compliant” in November 2013, when the compliance ratings for an initial batch of 50 jurisdictions were assigned. It has since implemented several recommendations made by the Global Forum, leading to an upgrade of ratings for individual elements of the evaluation process, but its overall rating remains “Largely Compliant.”
With the release of the latest batch of reviews, the Global Forum has now completed 143 peer reviews and assigned compliance ratings to 63 jurisdictions that have undergone Phase 2 reviews. Four jurisdictions are rated as Non-Compliant, while eight are now rated Partially Compliant. There are still 12 jurisdictions which remain blocked from moving to a Phase 2 review. Of these, the supplementary review of Switzerland has been launched in July to assess changes made since its 2011 review in its legal framework to comply with the international standard.
Additional peer reviews will be completed by the next plenary meeting of the Global Forum, in Berlin, Germany, on 28-29 October 2014. That meeting is expected to add to the growing momentum towards a much higher level of tax transparency worldwide.
An important milestone was achieved earlier this year with the release of a new international standard for the automatic exchange of tax information. The Global Forum will monitor and review the implementation of this standard, and its members are working together to achieve this goal. Simultaneously, the Global Forum will continue building on progress to date in the area of exchange of tax information on request. The Global Forum is also working on revision of its Terms of Reference, in preparation for a new round of reviews, in particular to include new transparency requirements on beneficial ownership of legal entities.