Gabon

Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes Peer Reviews: Gabon 2015

Phase 1: Legal and Regulatory Framework

In series:Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes: Peer Reviewsview more titles

Published on October 30, 2015

Also available in: French

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The Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes is the multilateral framework within which work in the area of tax transparency and exchange of information is carried out by over 120 jurisdictions which participate in the work of the Global Forum on an equal footing.

The Global Forum is charged with in-depth monitoring and peer review of the implementation of the standards of transparency and exchange of information for tax purposes. These standards are primarily reflected in the 2002 OECD Model Agreement on Exchange of Information on Tax Matters and its commentary, and in Article 26 of the OECD Model Tax Convention on Income and on Capital and its commentary as updated in 2004, which has been incorporated in the UN Model Tax Convention.

The standards provide for international exchange on request of foreseeably relevant information for the administration or enforcement of the domestic tax laws of a requesting party. “Fishing expeditions” are not authorised, but all foreseeably relevant information must be provided, including bank information and information held by fiduciaries, regardless of the existence of a domestic tax interest or the application of a dual criminality standard.

All members of the Global Forum, as well as jurisdictions identified by the Global Forum as relevant to its work, are being reviewed. This process is undertaken in two phases. Phase 1 reviews assess the quality of a jurisdiction’s legal and regulatory framework for the exchange of information, while Phase 2 reviews look at the practical implementation of that framework. Some Global Forum members are undergoing combined – Phase 1 plus Phase 2 – reviews. The ultimate goal is to help jurisdictions to effectively implement the international standards of transparency and exchange of information for tax purposes.

Key findings

The legal and regulatory framework for the availability of information in Gabon is generally in place. However, deficiencies have been identified regarding the availability of ownership information for bearer shares. A recent amendment to the legislation requires all securities including bearer shares to be dematerialised, but lacks clarity on the practical arrangements to ensure that the dematerialisation process will be effective for all shares after the transition period. Also, there are no enforcement measures to ensure that share registers of public limited companies and simplified joint-stock companies are kept up to date. Gabon has sufficient powers to access information for both domestic and exchange of information purposes and the right balance has been struck between rights and safeguards and accessing information. At present, Gabon’s network of information exchange mechanisms covers 82 jurisdictions. Gabon’s response to the recommendations in this report, as well as the application of the legal framework to the practices of its competent authority will be considered in detail in the Phase 2 Peer Review of Gabon which is scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2015. For further information on the exchange of information practice of Gabon and to read the full report click here.