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

Phase 1: Legal and Regulatory Framework

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Published on August 03, 2015

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 Phase 1 review of Albania finds that generally, the legal and regulatory framework for the availability of information is in place. However, Albania should ensure that an appropriate mechanism in put in place to ensure the ownership information for bearer shares issued prior 2008. Albania has sufficient powers to access information for both domestic and exchange of information purposes and the right balance has been struck between rights and safeguards and accessing information. However, it is recommended that Albania ensures that the scope of the professional privilege is in line with the international standard. At present, Albania’s network of EOI mechanisms covers 94 jurisdictions and Albania is continuing to negotiate further agreements to extend their EOI network. The response of Albania 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 in the Phase 2 Peer Review of Albania which is scheduled to commence in the third quarter of 2015. For further information on the exchange of information practice of Albania and to read the full report click here.