The Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Photo: asia-first.com

UAE, Panama among countries praised for ‘strong progress’ towards tax transparency

Global tax watchdogs have praised the progress made towards tax transparency by a number of previously ‘non-compliant’ jurisdictions.

Panama and the UAE are among 13 jurisdictions to have been awarded a provisional rating of ‘largely compliant’ with the international standard for exchange of information on request (EOIR) after a recent ‘fast-track’ review by the Global Forum of the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Only Trinidad and Tobago continued to be rated as ‘non-compliant’ following the review.

Each of the jurisdictions will now be fully reviewed for compliance before their ratings are officially amended, according to the OECD. The full review includes a peer evaluation against the revised EOIR standard, which now also includes beneficial ownership information.
“The provisional ratings reflect the strong progress made by the jurisdictions in implementing the EOIR Standard,” the OECD said.

“A number of critical changes have been introduced by the reviewed jurisdictions, including the elimination of strict bank secrecy and bearer shares, improved access to accounting records and a more rigorous oversight and enforcement of obligations to maintain information. Further progress has also been achieved on expanding the breadth of the exchange networks including signature of the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance on Tax Matters,” it said.

The Global Forum consists of OECD member countries and jurisdictions which have committed to strengthened tax transparency standards. It now has 142 members, who oversee each other’s compliance with the standards through an in-depth programme of peer review.

To be deemed compliant, countries and jurisdictions must meet at least two of three measures. These are at least a ‘largely compliant’ rating with respect to the EOIR standard; committing to implementing automatic exchange of information (AEOI) by 2018; and participating in either the OECD multilateral convention or a similarly broad exchange network permitting both EOIR and AEOI.

The fast-track review process was established by the Global Forum ahead of the next G20 summit, which will take place in Hamburg, Germany on 7 and 8 July 2017. G20 members have asked the Global Forum to provide them with a list of non-compliant jurisdictions in time for the summit.

Territories provisionally assessed as ‘largely compliant’ with the EOIR standard following fast track review are Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Costa Rica, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, the Federated States of Micronesia, Lebanon, Nauru, Panama, Samoa, the UAE and Vanuatu. Marshall Islands was provisionally assessed as ‘partially compliant’.

“Discussions are continuing with Trinidad and Tobago, and progress is anticipated soon,” the Global Forum said.

Source: Out-Law.com