Tax

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

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 14, 2016

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

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 Saudi Arabia as overall largely compliant with the international standard. Saudi Arabia’s legal framework and its practical implementation generally ensure that ownership, accounting and banking information are available in accordance with the standard. By ratifying the multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters in December 2015, the Saudi Arabian authorities will be able to use their domestic powers to obtain and provide information in response to all EOI requests made under that instrument, as it takes precedence over the domestic law and any restrictions therein. The report recommends that Saudi Arabia establishes appropriate organisational processes for responding to EOI requests in a timely manner, and that its competent authority regularly communicates with its treaty partners about these EOI requests.For further information on Saudi Arabia’s exchange of information practices and to read the full report click here.