Implementing the Tax Transparency Standards: A Handbook for Assessors and Jurisdictions
Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information
This handbook is intended to assist the assessment teams and the reviewed jurisdictions that are participating in the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information (the “Global Forum”) peer reviews and non-member reviews. It provides contextual background information on the Global Forum and the peer review process. It also contains relevant key documents and authoritative sources that will guide assessors and reviewed jurisdictions throughout the peer review process. Assessors should be familiar with the information and documents contained in this handbook as it will assist in conducting proper and fair assessments. This handbook is also a unique source of information for governments, academics and others interested in transparency and exchange of information for tax purposes.
About the Global Forum
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 90 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.
All review reports are published once approved by the Global Forum and they thus represent agreed Global Forum reports.
For more information on the work of the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes, and for copies of the published review reports, please refer to www.oecd.org/tax/transparency.
PART I: KEY DOCUMENTS OF THE GLOBAL FORUM FOR PEER REVIEWS
PART II: SOURCES OF THE STANDARDS
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