In series:Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes: Peer Reviewsview more titles
Published on October 29, 2014
This report contains the 2014 “Phase 2: Implementation of the Standards in Practice” Global Forum review of Ghana.
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.
The Phase 2 review shows that Ghana has a comprehensive legal framework and sound practices for the exchange of information for tax purposes and received an overall rating of largely compliant. The monitoring as carried as by Ghanaian authorities generally ensures that ownership, accounting and banking information is available according to the standard. However, it is recommended that the Registrar-General implements a system of oversight of ownership information. Further, as the rules related to the availability of ownership information on professional nominees and trusts were recently introduced, Ghana should monitor their practical implementation. With regards to access to information, Ghana has all the requisite access powers to obtain information and was able to access all the information for the 10 EOI requests sent during the review period. Having signed and ratified the Multilateral Convention in 2012, Ghana has a wide treaty network extending to over 80 treaty partners. Ghana should monitor its recently introduced EOI processes to ensure that all information is provided expeditiously and that status updates are provided in all cases. Peer input received praised Ghana as a reliable EOI partner which has made considerable progress in recent years. For further information on Ghana’s exchange of information practices click here.