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Nine peer review reports and three supplementary reports have been released following the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Global Forum's latest meeting in Cape Town, to review nations' progress towards the effective exchange of tax information.
The Global Forum adopted seven Phase 1 reports (in respect of Dominica, Marshall Islands, Niue, Russia, Samoa, Sint Maarten and Slovenia), three reports reassessing progress made by three territories that had failed their initial Phase 1 reviews (Liechtenstein, Monaco and Uruguay), and two combined reports, involving both Phase 1 and 2 assessments, (in respect of Argentina and South Africa).
With 88 jurisdictions already reviewed, the Global Forum is reaching the end of the Phase 1 reviews, which assess nations' legal and regulatory frameworks for the exchange of information in tax matters. Phase 2 reviews, which examine whether countries are enforcing their tax-related legislation, was launched in the second quarter of 2012. The OECD aims to complete 50 Phase 2 reviews by the end of 2013.
In the latest approved reports, Dominica failed to progress to a Phase 2 review, the report identifying a number of deficiencies including that the territory's competent authority "has broad access powers but these powers cannot be used to obtain information from offshore entities". The OECD assessed deficiencies in respect of the Marshall Islands' framework and also held back the territory from progressing to a Phase 2 review. Sint Maarten will progress to a Phase 2 review although some matters were highlighted for improvement.
In three supplementary reports reviewing progress made since Liechtenstein, Monaco, and Uruguay failed their previous Phase 1 reviews, the OECD reported that each of the nations had made enough progress in reforming their regulatory frameworks to progress to a Phase 2 Review, although Monaco was urged to conclude more bilateral tax information exchange agreements.
Also at the Global Forum meeting, the Czech Republic, Malta and New Zealand signed the Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters, following the signature by Romania earlier in October. Lithuania, Nigeria, Gabon, Kazakhstan and Latvia signed letters of intent to ink the Convention, adding to earlier commitments received from Albania, Belize, Estonia, Morocco and Niue. In less than two years since the amendment to the Convention, in response to a call from the G20, more than 50 countries have either become signatories or have stated their intention to do so.
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