Developing Country Perspectives on Automatic Exchange of Tax Information
Law, Social Justice & Global Development Journal, Vol. 1, 2015
28 Pages Posted: 1 Nov 2015
Date Written: October 30, 2015
In 2013, the G20 made a major policy shift in international taxation by endorsing automatic exchange of information as a next global standard for tax information exchanges between states. Within a year, the OECD introduced the standard entitled “Standard for Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information on Tax Matters”. The new standard essentially requires financial institutions in the participating countries to report information on financial accounts held by non-resident individuals and entities to their local tax authorities on a regular basis. The tax authorities then securely transmit this information to these individuals and entities’ countries of residence.
Overall, the new regime is intended to address a long-endured problem in international taxation – offshore tax evasion – and help the states to better enforce their tax laws on the foreign-source income of their residents. However, a closer analysis of the global standard, its adoption process, and the recent practice indicate that the initiative on automatic exchange of information are intended to establish a platform for regular flow of information mainly between tax havens and some developed countries. It, by and large, ignores the developing countries’ participation in the new regime. In fact, some strict requirements of the standard would prevent most developing countries from joining the regime anytime soon.
This paper argues that the new regime still offers invaluable benefits to developing countries and encourages them to join the regime. Considering and accommodating their needs in this process, must be an integral part of the initiative, and proposals for facilitating this process are offered.
Keywords: automatic exchange of information, developing countries, competent authority agreement, common reporting standard, multilateralism, multi-bilateralism, mandatory preliminary disclosure of aggregate data
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