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

Phase 2: Implementation of the Standard in Practice

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Published on March 16, 2015

This report contains the 2014 “Phase 2: Implementation of the Standards in Practice” Global Forum review of the Cook Islands.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 Cook Islands was rated as Largely Compliant. The Cook Islands has adequate laws requiring the availability of and access to information. In practice, the Cook Islands has effective systems in place for the monitoring and enforcement of these obligations. The Global Forum recommends that the Cook Islands clarify its legislation governing the maintenance of underlying accounting records and to monitor the effectiveness of the new accounting record keeping obligations. The Cook Islands has  answered all requests for information from treaty partners in full and timely manner and peers are very satisfied with the Cook Islands as an exchange of information partner. Given that the Cook Islands has received a relatively small number of requests in the review period, the Global Forum recommended that the Cook Islands monitor its exchange of information capacity. For further information on the exchange of information practice of The Cook Islands and to read the full report click here.