3 August 2015 – The OECD Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes published new peer review reports today for 12 countries or jurisdictions in respect of their compliance with global standards on transparency and exchange of information for tax purposes.
Jurisdictions continue to request supplementary reviews that assess steps taken to address recommendations of the Global Forum to address gaps in their legal frameworks and exchange of information practices identified in previous reviews. The supplementary report on the British Virgin Islands (BVI), which assesses progress made since its Phase 2 report in July 2013, concluded that based on significant improvements having been made, its overall rating be upgraded from “Non-Compliant” to “Largely Compliant”.
Austria, which was also rated “Partially Compliant” in July 2013, has since implemented a number of recommendations by the Global Forum, leading to an upgrade of its overall rating to “Largely Compliant” in its supplementary report. A supplementary review of the Marshall Islands, which had been blocked from moving to Phase 2 of its review process due to significant gaps in its legal framework, concluded that key changes to its legislation now enable it to move to Phase 2.
Phase 1 reports on Albania, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Dominican Republic, Lesotho, Pakistan and Uganda assessed their legal and regulatory frameworks for transparency and exchange of information on request. These countries were all assessed to have legal frameworks in place to enable them to move to the next stage of the review process, which will assess exchange of information practices.
The Global Forum also reviewed exchange of information practices through Phase 2 peer review reports in Lithuania and Sint Maarten. Both were given a rating for compliance with the individual elements of the international standard and an overall rating with Lithuania receiving an overall rating of “Compliant” and Sint Maarten an overall rating of “Partially Compliant.”
The Global Forum is the world’s largest international tax group, with 127 members on an equal footing. The Forum has now completed 198 peer reviews and assigned compliance ratings to 80 jurisdictions that have undergone Phase 2 reviews. Of these, 21 jurisdictions are rated “Compliant”, 46 are rated “Largely Compliant”, 10 are rated “Partially Compliant” and three jurisdictions are “Non-Compliant.” A further 11 jurisdictions are blocked from moving to a Phase 2 review due to insufficiencies in their legal and regulatory framework.
In an important step towards the smooth implementation of the OECD’s standard on Automatic Exchange of Information, the Global Forum has launched a multilateral process to evaluate confidentiality and data safeguards frameworks in more than 90 jurisdictions which have committed to begin automatic information exchange by 2017 or 2018.