Latest reports show transparency and exchange of tax information globally is improving. The reports focus on the jurisdictions' legal frameworks which allow for transparency and exchange of tax information.
Furthering its effort to fight against international tax evasion and bank secrecy, the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes has issued 12 new peer review reports. Jurisdictions covered include Andorra, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Austria, Bahrain, the Virgin Islands(British), Curaçao, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Saint Kitts and Nevis and the Turks and Caicos Islands.
The aim of these reports is to describe each jurisdiction's rules for ensuring information is made available to the tax authorities, how it can be accessed by authorities and the mechanisms in place to exchange information with foreign tax authorities. The reports also identify deficiencies and make recommendations on how jurisdictions can improve their co-operation in international tax matters.
Commenting on the latest reports, Mike Rawstron, Chair of the Global Forum said, "Over recent years numerous countries have adapted their legislation to ensure the effective exchange of information. This will improve tax compliance, benefitting all countries."
Liechtenstein, for example, has made rapid progress in developing exchange of information mechanisms since March 2009. "Its competent authority has powers to obtain all relevant information, including from banks. It has a network of agreements supporting international exchange of information, though some action to strengthen this is recommended," according to the review. However, gaps concerning the availability of ownership and accounting information were recognised.
Rawstron commented that, while progress is still required in a number of jurisdictions, the peer reviews are helping to speed up change with supplementary reports already being triggered to recognise progress.
Two supplementary reports covering Belgium and the Cayman Islands show that both these jurisdictions are amending their domestic legislation to address recommendations made by the Global Forum in previous reviews.
Across all 12 new reviews, the Forum highlights the most common deficiencies as being: the lack of available ownership information as regards trusts and bearer shares; incomplete accounting information for some forms of trusts and partnerships, including foreign or international entities; and some limitations in the international agreements allowing for exchange of information.
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