Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes Peer Reviews: Niue 2016

Phase 2: Implementation of the Standard in Practice

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Published on March 14, 2016

This report contains the 2014 “Phase 2: Implementation of the Standards in Practice” Global Forum review of Niue.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 130 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 Phase 2 review rates Niue as overall largely compliant with the international standard. Requirements to maintain ownership, identity, accounting and bank information broadly meet the international standard and Niue’s competent authority had adequate access powers. Some deficiencies have nevertheless been identified in Niue’s legal framework and the oversight of Niue’s authorities with respect to availability of ownership and accounting information under certain circumstances. However, the materiality of these deficiencies is limited as this stage, as Niue does not appear to have a functioning international financial centre and  there are currently less than one hundred legal entities incorporated or carrying on a business in Niue.  Niue has not received any requests for exchange of information in the three year period under review. Niue has nonetheless enacted processes and procedures to deal with exchange of information and sensitized government officials on how to handle requests. Niue has recently signed the Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters, which will allow Niue to exchange information with a large number of jurisdictions once the Convention is ratified and in force in Niue. For further information on Niue’s exchange of information practices and to read the full report click here.