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OECD Publishes 9 Country Peer Review Reports on Transparency and Information Exchange

On 16 March 2015, the OECD Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes published new peer review reports for 9 countries, including:

The reports are part of a review process for compliance with the international standard for information exchange. Phase 1 reports are an evaluation of a jurisdiction's legal and regulatory framework for transparency and exchange of information, and provides recommendations for improvement. Jurisdictions deemed to have a sufficient framework in place move on to the Phase 2 report, which looks at the actual implementation of the standard for information exchange, and provides a compliance rating as well as recommendations for improvement.

Following the Phase 1 reports for El Salvador and Mauritania, and the Phase 1 Supplementary Report for Switzerland, the three jurisdictions will move on to Phase 2 of the review process. The Phase 2 review for El Salvador and Mauritania is scheduled for the first half of 2015, while the review for Switzerland is scheduled for the second half of 2015.

In regard to the Phase 2 reports, Aruba, the Cook Islands, Hungary, Portugal and Uruguay were found to be largely compliant with the standards for information exchange. Curaçao, however, was found to be only partially compliant.

Each jurisdiction's compliance with the main elements for information exchange are briefly summarized as follows:

Aruba

Aruba was found to be partially compliant in regard to the availability of ownership and identity information to the competent authorities. For other elements, Aruba was found to be largely compliant or compliant.

The Cook Islands

The Cook Islands was found to be largely compliant or compliant for all elements

Curaçao

Curaçao was found to be partially compliant in regard to the following areas:

  • The availability of ownership and identity information to the competent authorities,
  • Ensuring the availability of reliable accounting records,
  • The ability of the competent authorities to obtain and provide information,
  • The effectiveness of its exchange of information mechanisms, and
  • The timeliness of its response to requests for information

For other elements, Curaçao was found to be compliant.

Hungary

Hungary was found to be partially compliant in regard to its provisions to ensure confidentiality of information. For other elements, Hungary was found to be largely compliant or compliant.

Portugal

Portugal was found to be partially compliant in regard to the ability of the competent authorities to obtain and provide information, and the effectiveness of its exchange of information mechanisms. For other elements, Portugal was found to be largely compliant or compliant.

Uruguay

Uruguay was found to be partially compliant in regard to the ability of the competent authorities to obtain and provide information, and its notification requirements and rights and safeguards regarding information requests. For other elements, Uruguay was found to be largely compliant or compliant.

Each country has 12 months, to produce a follow-up report on the steps taken to answer the recommendations provided in the Phase 2 reports.

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