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Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes Peer Reviews: Belize 2014

Phase 2: Implementation of the Standard in Practice

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

Published on October 29, 2014

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This report contains the 2014 “Phase 2: Implementation of the Standards in Practice” Global Forum review of Belize.

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 Phase 2 review rates Belize as overall largely compliant with the international standard.  Belize’s legal framework generally ensures that ownership, accounting and bank information is available according to the standard. However, the practical implementation of the laws was not sufficiently monitored by the Belizean authorities regarding the availability of ownership information. Belize is recommended to put in place an oversight program to ensure compliance with the obligations to maintain ownership information in respect of all entities.  Further, as the accounting record keeping obligations on entities exempt from taxation were recently introduced, Belize should monitor their practical implementation. The report notes that Belize has all the requisite access powers to obtain information and was able to access the information for the EOI requests sent during the review period. Belize’s exchange of information network covers 89 treaty partners and Belize effectively provided information to its EOI partners during the review period. However, the competent authority should be adequately resources and the working procedures put in place for an effective EOI process. Belize should report steps taken to address the recommendations made in the Phase 2 report within12 months.For further information on Belize’s exchange of information practices click here.