Thursday 11 April 2013
The Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes ("Global Forum") has announced that it has adopted Guernsey's Peer Review report - endorsing Guernsey as continuing to meet the international standards of transparency and tax information exchange.
The review, undertaken by the members of the Global Forum - the global leader in the field of international co-operation in tax matters - is an independent and comprehensive technical review of the legal and practical framework in place in Guernsey for exchanging tax information under international agreements.
The review examined Guernsey's compliance with the Global Forum's Terms of Reference, which are broken down into 10 overall elements, which are then further broken down into 31 aspects. Guernsey was found to have all of the essential elements assessed to date in place.
Chief Minister Deputy Peter Harwood said:
"This is a rigorous examination by expert Assessors versed in the legal and practical systems required to comply with international standards in this field. Guernsey was one of the first jurisdictions to have undergone a stand-alone Phase 2 review, and has been found to have all of those essential elements that have been assessed in place. In short, we have shown that we continue to meet the international standards of transparency, co-operation and information exchange in tax matters."
The Peer Review was carried out in two phases: the first, in late 2010, looked at the legal framework; and the second, in late 2012, examined the practical system in place for effective exchange of information. The Income Tax Office led the Guernsey response to the two phases of the Peer Review with detailed technical input from others including St James' Chambers, Commerce and Employment, the Guernsey Financial Services Commission, the Company Registry and the Guernsey Border Agency.
Minister for the Treasury & Resources Department, Deputy Gavin St Pier said:
"Guernsey has been committed to the principles of transparency and exchange of Information for tax purposes since making a political commitment to the OECD in 2002. We have 40 signed Tax Information Exchange Agreements (TIEAs) and five Double Taxation Agreements (DTA), all of which meet the highest international standards, and more are in various stages of negotiation. We also exchange information under agreements equivalent to the EU Savings Tax Directive and we are in negotiation with the US on an Intergovernmental Agreement relating to FATCA and with the UK on a similar package of measures."
The Global Forum has 120 members (including the EU), and a number of international organisations as observers. The Global Forum regularly updates the G20 on its progress, and an update which includes the findings from Guernsey's report will be delivered to the G20 Finance ministers and Central Bank Governors for their meeting on 18-19 April 2013.
- The OECD defines itself as "a forum of countries committed to democracy and the market economy, providing a setting to compare policy experiences, seek answers to common problems, identify good practices, and co-ordinate domestic and international policies." Collaboration at the OECD regarding taxation has fostered the growth of a global web of bilateral tax treaties.
- The Global Forum, initiated by the OECD, has been the driving force behind the development and acceptance of the international standards of transparency and exchange of information in tax matters.
- The over-arching areas covered by the Peer Reviews are: ownership information; accounting information; banking information; and effective exchange of information mechanisms, processes and networks for relevant entities (including banks, companies, trusts, partnerships and foundations).