In a report published today, the Global Forum on Transparency & Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes ('the Global Forum') confirms that Guernsey has not only followed through its 2002 commitment to observe the OECD principles on transparency and exchange of information for tax purposes but has made substantive developments in expanding its exchange of information network.
The report also confirms that Guernsey has in place all the necessary legal and regulatory powers to ensure it can meet the internationally agreed standard on obtaining and exchanging information for tax purposes.
Guernsey's Chief Minister, Lyndon Trott, said: "I am delighted that, hard on the heels of a very favourable report from the IMF, Guernsey has received this endorsement of its legal and regulatory framework from an international body such as the Global Forum. The report confirms Guernsey's long standing commitment to meeting international standards. It is another independent endorsement that Guernsey is a well regulated, transparent and co-operative member of the international community.
"Guernsey committed to the OECD's principles of transparency and exchange of information for tax purposes in 2002, and this report clearly demonstrates that that undertaking was no hollow exercise. The fact that this report was prepared by our peers in the Global Forum, and has measured Guernsey's system as being equal to some of the largest and most important countries on the planet, acknowledges Guernsey's place in the premier league of financial centres committed to international standards of probity."
The report says: "Guernsey has made substantive developments in expanding its [exchange of information] network, predominantly since 2006, and this has been combined with the development of a complementary domestic process to manage requests received from its [exchange of information] partners."
The Global Forum has been the driving force behind the development and acceptance of international standards on transparency and effective exchange of information for tax purposes. It was created in 2000 and currently consists of 97 member jurisdictions. Guernsey is a full member of the Global Forum. In 2009, the Global Forum produced an ambitious four and a half year Peer Review process, the intention of which is to establish a robust and comprehensive process to monitor and review progress made by jurisdictions towards full and effective exchange of information up to the international standards.
Guernsey is scheduled to undergo a Phase 2 review in 2012 where the review team will look at the practical implementation of the exchange of information process. This will involve the Assessment Team visiting Guernsey and evaluating the effectiveness of how the Income Tax Office obtains information and exchanges it with our Tax Information Exchange Agreement (TIEA) partners.
Guernsey's Chief Minister added: "I look forward to the Phase 2 Review where I am confident that Guernsey will be given yet another opportunity to demonstrate its strong commitment to meeting its international obligations."
The report is published at http://www.oecd.org/document/42/0,3746,en_2649_201185_46894058_1_1_1_1,00.html
The Peer Review process consists of two phases:
(i) Phase 1 assesses the legal and regulatory framework of a jurisdiction against 10 essential elements. Guernsey undertook its Phase 1 Review during 2010;
(ii) Phase 2 of the process focuses on the effectiveness of exchange of information. Guernsey's Phase 2 Review is scheduled to take place in 2012.
The 10 elements, against which the Phase 1 Review is measured, relate to:
- the availability of information,
- appropriate methods of accessing the information, by the authorities, and
- the existence of exchange of information mechanisms with other countries.
These 'exchange of information mechanisms' include, for example, the Tax Information Exchange Agreements ('TIEAs') that Guernsey has been entering into since 2002, and continues to do so. Guernsey's Phase 1 Review was undertaken by an assessment team consisting of 2 members of the Global Forum Secretariat and two expert assessors, one from the Italian Revenue Agency and one from the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore. The Assessment Team measures the 10 essential elements and scores them as:
- element in place,
- the element is in place, but certain aspects of the legal implementation of the element need improvement,
- the element is not in place, and
- the element is not assessed ( which may be necessary if, for example, the Assessment Team did not consider it was in a position to make an evaluation without carrying out the Phase 2 Review.)
Guernsey's Phase 1 Review found:
- the element was in place in relation to 8 of the 10 essential elements,
- the element was in place, but certain aspects of the legal implementation of the element needed improvement, for just 1 of the elements, and
- the remaining element was not assessed.
For more information about Guernsey's finance industry please visit www.guernseyfinance.com.
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