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

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 March 14, 2016

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 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 1 review of Tunisia finds that the legal and regulatory framework applicable in Tunisia generally requires availability, access and exchange of all relevant information in tax matters in accordance with the international standard. However, one deficiency has been identified regarding the application scope of attorney-client privilege, which is not defined under Tunisian law, and could extend beyond what is allowed in the international standard for exchange of information on requests. At present, Tunisia’s network of information exchange mechanisms covers 119 jurisdictions. Tunisia’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 during the combined evaluation of Tunisia under the terms of reference adopted on 29 October 2015 by the Global Forum. This assessment of the legal and regulatory framework in Tunisia and EOIR in practice (combined review) is scheduled for the first semester of 2018. For further information on the exchange of information practice of Tunisia and to read the full report click here