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OECD Releases New Peer Review Reports

by Ulrika Lomas,, Brussels

06 August 2014

On August 4, 2014, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's (OECD's) Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purpose published peer review reports and compliance ratings for a new batch of jurisdictions.

The Global Forum reviewed exchange of information practices during Phase Two peer reviews in ten jurisdictions. It allocated ratings to these territories for compliance with the individual elements of the international standard, as well as an overall rating.

Five jurisdictions – Andorra, Anquilla, Antiqua and Barbuda, Indonesia, and Saint Lucia – received an overall rating of "Partially Compliant." Four others – Chile, Macedonia, Montserrat, and St. Kitts and Nevis – received an overall rating of "Largely Compliant." Mexico was rated as "Compliant."

A Phase One report for Georgia assessed the country's legal and regulatory framework for transparency and the exchange of tax information. Georgia has qualified for the next stage of the review process, which will assess how it exchanges information in practice. This review will take place during the second half of 2014. Niue, on the other hand, was prevented from moving to Phase Two of its review process due to significant gaps in its legal framework.

Jurisdictions continue to request supplementary reviews that assess steps taken to address gaps in their legal frameworks and exchange of information practices identified in previous reviews. In November 2013, Jersey was rated as "Largely Compliant", when the compliance ratings for an initial batch of 50 jurisdictions were assigned. Since then, Jersey has implemented several recommendations made by the Global Forum, leading to an upgrade of ratings for individual elements of the evaluation process, but its overall rating remains "Largely Compliant."

With the release of the latest batch of reviews, the Global Forum has now completed 143 peer reviews and assigned compliance rating to 63 jurisdictions that have undergone Phase Two reviews. Four jurisdictions are rated as "Non Compliant", while eight are now rated "Partially Compliant." There are still 12 jurisdictions which remain blocked from moving to a Phase Two review. Of these, the supplementary review of Switzerland was launched in July to assess changes made since its 2011 review.

Additional peer reviews will be completed by the next plenary meeting of the Global Forum, in Berlin, Germany, on October 28-29, 2014. That meeting is expected to add to the growing momentum towards a much higher level of tax transparency worldwide.

An important milestone was achieved earlier this year with the release of a new international standard for the automatic exchange of tax information. The Global Forum will monitor and review the implementation of this standard. The Global Forum is also working on revision of its Terms of Reference, in preparation for a new round of reviews, in particular to include new transparency requirements on beneficial ownership of legal entities.

TAGS: compliance | tax | business | tax information exchange agreement (TIEA) | double tax agreement (DTA) | tax compliance | Chile | Montserrat | Saint Lucia | tax avoidance | law | Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) | Jersey | Mexico | Niue | enforcement | tax authority | offshore | agreements | multinationals | legislation | tax planning | Georgia | Germany | Indonesia | Switzerland | tax reform | standards | regulation | trade | mutual assistance agreement | Andorra | Macedonia | Tax | Tax Evasion

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