Tax transparency tops OECD agenda in Tbilisi
The OECD is calling on all jurisdictions to conform to the latest tax transparency standards under exchange of information rules at the same time as they develop their own tax transparency initiatives
The majority of OECD members have committed to implement the automatic exchange of information (AEOI) standard, with a 2017 deadline to start exchanging tax data across jurisdictions.
At the latest annual meeting in Georgia, OECD global forum members said that there will still challenges for jurisdictions who had not yet signed up to the AEOI but were planning 2018 compliance dates.
The OECD 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, the global forum said a ‘constructive discussion’ was held to ensure that all converge around the transparency standards in their respective transparency initiatives.
In addition, the global forum 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.
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).
Many jurisdictions received less than satisfactory ratings but had already taken or were taking steps to address recommendations made in the review process. Marshall Islands agreed to its report, which found the country non-compliant due to a lack of effective monitoring and enforcement programme, but highlighted recent progress made.
Panama was also deemed to be non-compliant for a variety of reasons including issues related to a disproportionate number of ‘deemed inactive’ companies, the absence of requirements for entities operating outside Panama to keep accounting records, as well as deficiencies in the use of Panama’s powers to obtain and collect information.
However, 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. 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 the 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 ownership information of all legal entities and arrangements.