11/12/2017 - There have been dramatic improvements in tax transparency over the past decade. However, challenges still remain. High profile leaks, such as the release of the 'Panama' and the 'Paradise' papers by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), underscore the widespread use of offshore structures to hide beneficial ownership of assets and income.
The rapid and widespread adoption of the Common Reporting Standard (CRS) for automatic exchange of financial account information is limiting taxpayers' ability to hide their income and assets offshore. However the experience of a number of tax administrations and the information disclosed through the OECD's CRS disclosure initiative show that a number of advisers and service providers are actively marketing schemes designed to circumvent the CRS reporting requirements.
In light of these ongoing challenges, G7 Finance Ministers, in the Bari Declaration issued on 13 May 2017, called on the OECD to start "discussing possible ways to address arrangements designed to circumvent reporting under the Common Reporting Standard or aimed at providing beneficial owners with the shelter of non-transparent structures." The Declaration states that these discussions should include consideration of "model mandatory disclosure rules inspired by the approach taken for avoidance arrangements outlined within the BEPS Action 12 Report."
Today the OECD is releasing a consultation document (also available in French) seeking stakeholder input on such model mandatory disclosure rules. The model rules are intended to target promoters and service providers with a material involvement in the design, marketing or implementation of CRS avoidance arrangements or offshore structures. The proposed rules would require such intermediaries to disclose information on the scheme to their national tax authority. The rules contemplate that information on those schemes (including the identity of any user or beneficial owner) would then be made available to other tax authorities in accordance with the requirements of the applicable information exchange agreement.
Public input is sought on all aspects of these model rules. Submissions on this document will be taken into account in preparing the report that will to be sent to the G7 Finance Ministers under the Canadian Presidency.
Interested parties are invited to send their comments on this consultation draft (also available in French) by 15 January 2018 at the latest (no extension will be granted) by email to MandatoryDisclosure@oecd.org in Word format. They should be addressed to the International Co-operation and Tax Administration Division, OECD/CTPA.
Media queries should be directed to Pascal Saint-Amans, Director of the OECD Centre for Tax Policy and Administration (+33 1 45 24 91 08) or Achim Pross, Head of the International Co-operation and Tax Administration Division (+33 6 21 63 27 67).
Please note that all comments received will be made publicly available. Comments submitted in the name of a collective "grouping" or "coalition", or by any person submitting comments on behalf of another person or group of persons, should identify all entreprises or individuals who are members of that collective group, or the person(s) on whose behalf the commentator(s) are acting.