The Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes is the multilateral framework within which work on transparency and exchange of information for tax purposes has been carried out by both OECD and non-OECD economies since 2000. Since its restructuring in 2009, the Global Forum has become the key international body working on the implementation of the international standards on tax transparency. The Global Forum ensures that these high standards of transparency and exchange of information for tax purposes are in place around the world through its monitoring and peer review activities. In order to ensure a worldwide participation in the benefits of increased tax transparency and international co-operation and in order to ensure that developing countries benefit from the new tax transparent environment, the Global Forum has a technical assistance programme for its members.
There are two internationally agreed standards on exchange of information for tax purposes:
The Global Forum currently has 144 members participating on an equal footing, together with 15 international organisations participating as observers. All member jurisdictions have committed to implementing the international standard on EOIR. The Global Forum conducts rigorous assessments of compliance with this standard, according to the elements set out in its Terms of Reference.
In addition, over 100 countries and jurisdictions have committed to implementing the new standard on AEOI. Work is currently underway to implement this Standard, with the first exchanges occurring on a very ambitious timeline of 2017 and 2018.
The implementation of these international standards significantly contributes to the fight against tax evasion, as well as achieving greater international co-operation and enhanced transparency of corporate bodies, arrangements and financial information.
WHO WE ARE?
|» Global Forum Secretariat|
The Global Forum has a self-standing dedicated Secretariat, based in the OECD Centre for Tax Policy and Administration. Over the years, the Secretariat has been expanded to include 27 staff members with diverse national backgrounds, experience and language skills, which includes both directly hired staff and secondees provided by Global Forum members. The OECD Council decision establishing the Global Forum exceptionally provides for nationals of non-OECD member countries to be able to join the Global Forum Secretariat, and staff members who are nationals of Brazil, Cameroon, Hong Kong (China), India and Russia have been hired. Secondees have been provided by Bermuda, the Czech Republic, the Dominican Republic, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and the British Virgin Islands. The work of the Global Forum is funded by its members by way of membership fees and voluntary contributions. Over the years, France, Jersey and India have made voluntary contributions. Staff at the Global Forum Secretariat comes from 18 different jurisdictions, and speaks 14 languages: Arabic, Chinese, Czech, Dutch, English, French, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish, Turkish and Ukrainian. The Global Forum Secretariat is headed by Ms Monica Bhatia from India since 2012. See the Global Forum organisational chart.
|» Steering Group|
The Steering Group prepares and guides the future work of the Global Forum. The Steering Group is composed of the Chair and Vice-Chairs of the Global Forum, which are currently Spain (Mrs Maria José Garde, Chair) and Barbados, Italy and Japan (Vice-Chairs), along with 15 other members, and also includes the Chair of the Peer Review Group (Mrs. Huey Min Chia-Tern from Singapore) and the AEOI Group (Mr. David Pitaro from Italy).
|» Peer Review Group|
All members of the Global Forum, as well as jurisdictions identified by the Global Forum as relevant to its work, undergo peer reviews of their legal and regulatory framework for transparency and exchange of information in tax matters and the implementation of the standards in practice. The peer review process, conducted in 2 Phases, is overseen by 30 members of the Global Forum that serve on the Peer Review Group (PRG). In the first round, certain jurisdictions underwent combined reviews, which evaluated together the Phase 1 and Phase 2 aspects. In the new round, all reviews will be carried out in a combined manner. All members of the Global Forum, as well as jurisdictions identified by the Global Forum as relevant to its work, are reviewed in the order established by the Schedule of Reviews. After completion of both Phases of the review process, each jurisdiction receives an overall rating.
The PRG is currently chaired by Singapore (Mrs. Huey Min Chia-Tern), assisted by four Vice-Chairs – the Cayman Islands, India, the United Kingdom and the United States. The PRG meets three to four times a year on average, and discusses and approves the peer review reports, which are then submitted for adoption by the Global Forum.
|» Automatic Exchange of Information Group|
The Global Forum has two key streams of work in relation to the new Standard on AEOI: monitoring its implementation, and helping developing countries to benefit from it.
To undertake this work, the Global Forum established its AEOI Group chaired by Italy (David Pitaro). Formed in 2013 as a voluntary working group, its membership currently comprises more than 70 Global Forum jurisdictions and two Global Forum observers. The Group holds regular meetings and reports to the Global Forum plenary.
The Group is tasked with creating a mechanism for monitoring and reviewing the implementation of the new Standard. The monitoring of implementation is underway, with a report on jurisdictions that have committed to the new Standard provided to the Global Forum plenary in October 2014 and subsequently to the G20 Leaders. To monitor implementation of the Standard, the AEOI Group is creating a peer review process. Work has commenced for the creation of new Terms of Reference and a new Methodology, which will allow for Global Forum member and relevant non-member jurisdictions to be evaluated for the effectiveness of the implementation, including the meeting of confidentiality and data safeguard requirements. These reviews will ensure a globally consistent implementation of the Standard.