Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes

Global Forum publishes five new peer review reports assessing the legal and regulatory framework for the exchange of information on request

 

24/06/2021 - The Global Forum published today new peer review reports assessing the legal and regulatory framework against the international standard on transparency and exchange of information on request (EOIR) for Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, the Russian Federation, South Africa and Ukraine.

Travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic having prevented the assessment teams from performing on-site visits to evaluate the practical implementation of the standard, the new reports only cover the first phase of the assessment. Ratings for each element and overall ratings will be attributed later, once on-site visits are carried out and full reviews have been completed.

Key findings and recommendations include: 

Antigua and Barbuda’s peer review recognises the improvements made towards ensuring that accounting records are maintained by international business companies (IBCs) for a minimum of five years. Since its last review, Antigua and Barbuda significantly expanded its exchange of information relationships network by becoming a Party to the multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters (multilateral Convention). Whilst progress was achieved, remaining flaws in the regulatory framework may undermine the availability of beneficial ownership information for legal entities and arrangements. Further, the legal framework does not fully ensure that an agent is in possession of, or has control of, or has the ability to obtain the accounting records of IBCs. Antigua and Barbuda should ensure that all accounting information is available in relation to IBCs and international limited liability companies that re-domicile to other jurisdictions. Read the report

Argentina’s legislative and regulatory framework covers almost all the elements of the EOIR standard. The entry into force of the multilateral Convention in 2013 allowed Argentina to expand its network of exchange of information relationships significantly since its previous peer review. The only legal and regulatory improvement needed is to ensure that beneficial ownership information on bank account holders is available in all cases, in accordance with the standard, as the new requirements under tax law and commercial law may not cover all of them. Read the report

The Russian Federation’s legal and regulatory framework generally ensures the availability, access and exchange of relevant information for tax purposes. The main legal improvement since its previous peer review relates to the enhancement of its international network of exchange of information relationships, after the entry into force of the multilateral Convention in 2015. The interplay of the recent obligation for all Russian entities to keep information on their beneficial ownership and anti-money laundering provisions does not yet fully cover the requirements of the standard and should be improved. Improvements are also required on the availability of ownership and accounting information of relevant foreign entities. Read the report

South Africa’s legal and regulatory framework generally ensures the availability, access and exchange of all relevant information for tax purposes in accordance with the international standard. The peer review report underlines the scope for improvement in respect of beneficial ownership information, especially in the case of partnerships and trusts. Further, accounting information on companies that domicile out of South Africa may not be available due to some ambiguity in the existing law. South Africa is thus recommended to address these issues suitably. Read the report

Ukraine’s peer review points out a number of important improvements since its last review in 2016, such as the tax authority’s ability to obtain information directly from financial institutions without seeking a court order, when responding to an exchange of information request. However, deficiencies previously identified regarding the availability of legal ownership and accounting information continue to exist. In addition, although Ukraine has a centralised register for collecting legal and beneficial ownership information for all legal entities and arrangements, gaps persist and the availability of beneficial ownership information may not be ensured in line with the standard. Read the report

The Peer Review Group of the Global Forum has also approved the requests from Anguilla and Barbados to be subject to supplementary reviews to assess progress made in implementing the standard. These reviews will encompass an onsite visit and their launch therefore depends on travel restrictions. They will take place as soon as the assessment teams can visit these jurisdictions.

» Read more about the peer review process

» Access all peer review reports published to date 

The Global Forum is the leading multilateral body mandated to ensure that jurisdictions around the world adhere to and effectively implement both the EOIR standard and the standard of automatic exchange of information (AEOI). These objectives are achieved through a robust monitoring and peer review process. The Global Forum also runs an extensive technical assistance programme to support its members in implementing the standards and help tax authorities make the best use of cross-border information sharing channels.

For further information, journalists should contact Pascal Saint-Amans, Director of the OECD Centre for Tax Policy and Administration (+33 1 45 24 91 08) or Zayda Manatta, Head of the Global Forum Secretariat, (+33 1 45 24 82 29).

 

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