In order to ensure the effective implementation of the international standards in transparency and exchange of information for tax purposes the Global Forum conducts rigorous peer reviews, issuing recommendations where issues are identified, and provides technical assistance to support its members in implementing the standards.
The Global Forum plenary, which includes all members, is the sole decision-making body of the Global Forum. The Chair of the Global Forum is Ms Maria José Garde, from Spain.
In order to facilitate its work, the Global Forum has established three subsidiary groups focusing on different aspects of the Global Forum’s work, all of which report back to the Global Forum including with any proposals for adoption by the Global Forum.
The Steering Group prepares and guides the future work of the Global Forum. The Steering Group is composed of the Chair (Spain, Ms Maria José Garde) and the Vice-Chairs of the Global Forum (Barbados, Italy and Japan), along with 15 other members. The Steering Group also includes the Chair of the Peer Review Group (Ms Huey Min Chia-Tern from Singapore) and the Chair of the Automatic Exchange of Information Peer Review Group (Mr Bruce Snider from Canada).
The Peer Review Group (PRG) overseas the Global Forum’s peer reviews in relation to the EOIR Standard. It consists of 30 members of the Global Forum. The PRG is currently chaired by Singapore (Ms 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, discusses and approves the peer review reports and proposals on other matters related to the review of the EOIR Standard, which are then submitted for adoption by the Global Forum.
The Automatic Exchange of Information Peer Review Group (APRG) was recently established to take forward the work on peer reviews against the AEOI standard previously carried out by the AEOI Group. Its main tasks include drawing conclusions on the legal frameworks of the Global Forum members that have committed to implement the standard with a specific date and put domestic legislations in place (AEOI Peers), and assessing their effective implementation in practice.
The APRG is comprised of 34 members from the AEOI Peers and 3 additional members (Georgia, Uganda and the United States) involved in its work to the extent it relates to confidentiality and data safeguards. The APRG is chaired by Canada (Mr. Bruce Snider), assisted by two Vice-Chairs (Jersey and the United Kingdom). It has a two-year mandate running to the end of 2021 when the first round of AEOI effectiveness reviews are due to be completed. The APRG meets three to four times a year to discuss and approve peer review reports, which are then submitted to the AEOI Peers for adoption.
The Global Forum created the Peer Review Group (PRG) and the Automatic Exchange of Information Peer Review Group (APRG) to take forward its technical work to ensure the effective implementation of its standards. The main work of the PRG and the APRG is to oversee the peer reviews in relation to the tax transparency standards.
The review process consists of assessment teams (which include two assessors from member jurisdictions supported by the Secretariat) conducting a detailed review of the legal framework each jurisdiction has in place to facilitate EOIR as well the effectiveness of the operation of the EOIR standard in practice. This includes the analysis of input from each jurisdiction’s exchange partners and information obtained during an on-site visit. The assessment team then prepares a report including recommendations with respect to areas requiring improvement. The report is submitted to the PRG for approval, where the assessment team and the assessed jursidiction can present their positions, and, once approved, the report is submitted to the Global Forum for adoption.
The Global Forum has so far only assessed the domestic and international legal frameworks put in place to implement the standard. This process has consisted of the Secretariat conducting the analysis, proposing recommendations where any gaps are identified, before the analysis is shared with all jurisdicitons implementing the AEOI Standard for comment. The analysis is then submitted to the AEOI Group for approval before being submitted to all jurisdictions implementing the AEOI Standard for endorsement. The Global Forum will soon move to reviewing the effectiveness of the implementation of the AEOI Standard in practice.
The Global Forum also reviews the confidentiality and data safeguards standards in place in each jurisdiction with a particular focus on the policies and systems in place. It has conducted pre-exchange assessments of all jursidciotns to provide comfort for exchanges to commence and has commenced post-exchange reviews to assess the policies and systems in practice. The reviews have been conducted by a group of experts (including legal, operational and cybersecurity experts) from member jursidcitions, supported by the Secretariat. Where issues are identified then exchange partners are no longer expected to send information to the jursidciton concerned until the issues are successfully addressed.
The technical assistance activities provided by the Global Forum Secretariat and its partners are varied, targeted and adapted to the needs of each member. They mainly consist of:
Regional technical assistance programmes are provided by the Global Forum Secretariat in collaboration with regional organisations. They are essential partners in building trust, long term relationships and capacity for transparency and exchange of information for tax purposes. Programmes are currently being run, or in preparation, for the following regions:
The first regional initiative launched by the Global Forum is the Africa Initiative, which is also therefore its most advanced. This has included significant engagement at ministerial level to ensure political buy-in and sustained momentum. This is reflected in the Yaoundé Declaration, that provides support to the fight against illicit financial flows from Africa. The ministerial engagement in the Latin America initiative is demonstrated by the Punta del Este Declaration, in relation to maximising the effective use of the information exchanged under the international tax transparency standards to tackle tax evasion, corruption and other financial crimes.