On 6 November 2013, the Taxation (Exchange of Information with Third Countries) (Amendment No. 7) (Jersey) Regulations 2008 came into force ("Amendment No. 7"). Amendment No. 7 amends the Taxation (Exchange of Information with Third Countries) (Jersey) Regulations 2008 (the "Principal Regulations") in a number of respects. The Principal Regulations provide in Jersey domestic law a procedure for obtaining information if a request is received from a third country under a tax information exchange agreement (a "TIEA").
It was noted in the accompanying report to Amendment No. 7 that the Principal Regulations had a number of shortcomings that needed to be addressed in order to meet the international standards for exchange of tax information.
Amendment No. 7 is intended to provide Jersey's Treaty Partners with a clear indication of Jersey's commitment to the effective implementation of the international standard of tax information exchange in line with the practice of other jurisdictions.
Right of appeal (Regulation 14 )
The key purpose of Amendment No. 7 is to limit the statutory scope of an appeal to the Royal Court against a decision of the Comptroller of Taxes (the "Comptroller") to issue a notice under the Principal Regulations to an application for judicial review. This narrows the grounds upon which a decision of the Comptroller may be set-aside.
The Principal Regulations previously conferred a relatively unrestricted right of appeal on a taxpayer and a third party in respect of a decision of the Comptroller to issue a notice.
In Volaw Trust & Corporate Services Limited and Mr Berge Gerdt Larsen v the Comptroller of Taxes  JRC 195, the Royal Court proceeded on the basis that the right of appeal previously provided for in the Principal Regulations involved "a hearing de novo; that it is not therefore for the appellants to show that the Comptroller erred on one or other of the more limited grounds that would be available in a judicial review but, rather, that it is for the Court – standing, in effect, in the shoes of the Comptroller – to consider the matter afresh".
Additionally, the time period within which a taxpayer or a third party must appeal has been reduced from 21 to 14 days following receipt of a notice from the Comptroller.
Importantly, an appeal from a decision of the Royal Court will be limited to an appeal to the Privy Council, provided that leave to appeal is granted. Accordingly, there shall be no right of appeal to Jersey's Court of Appeal.
Transitional provision (Regulation 16 )
Existing cases will be subject to Amendment No. 7 in circumstances where a date has not been set for an appeal, or where an appeal has been fixed for a date that is more than 28 days after the coming into force of Amendment No. 7.
Provision of information by the tax payer (Regulation 2)
The previous requirement imposed on the Comptroller to afford the taxpayer a "reasonable" opportunity within which to provide the information requested has been removed.
Provision of information by third parties about the tax payer (Regulation 3)
The Comptroller is now required to provide a taxpayer with a copy of a third party notice within 7 days after the notice has been served on the third party, or if the Comptroller does not know the taxpayer's name and address, within 7 days after the third party has provided the Comptroller with the requested information. The Comptroller is no longer required to provide the taxpayer with a written summary of reasons for issuing a third party notice.
The Comptroller is required to indicate in the third party notice whether the third party is prohibited from disclosing to the taxpayer a copy of the third party notice, or any information in relation to the third party notice, and the reason for the prohibition against disclosure. In such circumstances, the third party may not disclose any information in connection with the third party notice to the taxpayer without the consent of the Comptroller or the Royal Court.
Time for compliance with notices (Regulation 4 )
The time for compliance with a notice issued to a taxpayer or a third party has been reduced from 30 to 15 days.
Search and seizure
Amendment No. 7 particularises the grounds on which the Bailiff may issue a warrant authorising the search of premises and seizure of material.
Depending on the ground upon which the warrant has been issued, either the Comptroller (or an officer designated by the Comptroller), or a police officer can enter and search premises and remove anything that the individual has reasonable grounds for believing is something specified in the warrant, or if the warrant has been issued on the grounds that a criminal offence has been or is about to be committed, evidence to be used in criminal proceedings. The warrant does not permit the seizure of legally privileged material.
In narrowing the scope of the right of appeal to judicial review, and limiting an appeal brought from a decision of the Royal Court to an appeal to the Privy Council, it is expected that Amendment No.7 will reduce the number of appeals brought under the Principal Regulations and thus allow for more efficient exchange of tax information.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.