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Global Tax Forum Issues Peer Reviews

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes has issued the first phase of peer reviews covering the legal and regulatory frameworks for transparency and exchange of tax information in Bermuda, Botswana, Cayman Islands, India, Jamaica, Monaco, Panama and Qatar.

More than 190 delegates from 80 members and 9 international organizations and regional groupings met on September 29-30 in Singapore, to adopt the first eight reports produced under the Global Forum’s peer review mechanism.

The reports describe each jurisdiction’s rules for ensuring that information is available, how it can be accessed by competent authorities and the mechanisms in place to exchange the information with foreign tax authorities. They also include recommendations on how these jurisdictions can improve their cooperation in international tax matters.

The deficiencies identified commonly related to access to information including information on nominees, trusts and the need to maintain good accounting records.

A second stage of the reviews, examining the eight countries’ exchange of information practices will take place by 2012. Botswana and Panama will have to adequately address the phase 1 recommendations before proceeding to a phase 2 review.

More than 100 jurisdictions and observers are now part of the Global Forum, with Botswana, Jamaica and Kenya the newest members. All these jurisdictions, as well as others identified by the Global Forum as relevant to its work, are participating in reviews of their systems for the international exchange of information in tax matters.

In addition to adopting these eight peer review reports, the Global Forum released the 2010 Global Forum assessment and identified a strategy, working with the OECD and other international organizations and regional groupings to provide technical assistance to all interested jurisdictions so that they can fully implement the standard.

The next Global Forum meeting will be held in Bermuda in 2011.