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

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 March 16, 2015

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

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 Portugal overall as largely compliant with the international standard. Portugal’s legal framework generally ensures that ownership information, accounting and bank information is available according to the standard. Portugal’s tax administration has broad powers to access accounting information and information on the ownership of legal entities. The report raises some concerns regarding access to bank information, but notes that improvements in this area have already been made. The report notes that Portugal should ensure that its access powers and procedures are effective in relation to all requests for bank information, irrespective of when the relevant operations and transactions took place. Portugal generally has in place appropriate organisational processes to ensure effective exchange of information. However, the report notes that Portugal should put in place adequate processes and guidance to ensure that all requests for banking information are answered in a timely manner. Portugal should report steps taken to address the recommendations made in the report within one year. For further information on Portugal’s exchange of information practices and to read the full report click here.