Technical Assistance Activities
The Global Forum engages in a range of activities to support its member jurisdictions in effectively implementing the international standards on transparency and exchange of information, and ensuring that exchanges between members’ tax authorities are efficient and of high quality. These activities are an essential component of work of the Global Forum and they may be classed into three broad categories.
- Skills support activities, which build the skills of member jurisdictions focussing on the needs of one jurisdiction at a time, often in connection with their upcoming peer review.
- Peer-to-peer learning between member jurisdictions, which takes the form of regional training seminars and competent authority meetings, focussing on issues such as awareness, auditor sensitisation, building exchange of information systems and procedures and training assessors for conducting peer reviews.
- Development of tools, which support members’ implementation of the international standards, such as practical guidelines, work manuals and tracking systems.
The Global Forum’s assistance activities are a collaborative effort between the Secretariat, member jurisdictions and various international organisations and development agencies. This cooperation has been instrumental to the assistance activities carried out by the Global Forum. 15 international organisations participate as observers at the Global Forum.
The level of cooperation with these organisations has been high. For example, most regional seminars have been organised in conjunction with the World Bank Group and other relevant regional organisations, such as the ATAF and CIAT. In addition some of the observers have made voluntary contributions to the budget of the Global Forum.
Assistance activities will intensify greatly in 2015 due to the Africa Initiative, a strategic project for increasing engagement in Africa, and the need to ensure that developing countries can participate in and benefit from the new standard on Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI).
At its annual meeting in Berlin, the Global Forum welcomed the launch of a new initiative focussed on transparency and exchange of information in Africa. The Africa Initiative is a joint effort of individual African members of the Global Forum, ATAF, CREDAF, the Global Forum, the OECD, the World Bank Group and other international organisations. . The aim is to deliver a program to unlock the potential for transparency and exchange of information in Africa, to engage with relevant leaders in African countries on the benefits that EOI can bring, and to leave behind a legacy of increased capacity in tax administrations across the continent. For more information, see Africa Initiative.
Two specific directions can be identified for this work.
First with regard to developing countries, at the request of the G20 Development Working Group the Secretariat drafted a Roadmap to identify obstacles that developing countries face in benefiting from AEOI and the steps needed to overcome those obstacles. As part of this process, a number of pilot projects are proposed. Projects have been launched with Albania (partnering with Italy), Colombia (partnering with Spain), Morocco (partnering with France) Philippines (partnering with Australia), and work is underway with Pakistan and Uganda. We anticipate that other developing countries will also ask to participate in pilot projects.
In addition, some financial centres are also located in developing or low income developing countries. While commitment to the Standard for financial centres cannot be conditional upon receiving technical assistance, the Secretariat is working to assist developing countries with financial centres.
Second, starting in late 2014 and continuing into 2015, the Global Forum and OECD Secretariats will deliver a series of regional training seminars on the new AEOI standard. The first such event was held in Mexico City, Mexico from 3-5 December 2014. Additional training events on AEOI are envisaged for Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East in 2015. The next event is scheduled for 17 – 20 February in Berlin. A list of forthcoming training events is available on this link.
Plans are underway for updating our technical assistance platform, which will include resources, training materials, FAQs and an online question and answer function.