Gibraltar has again achieved the second-highest OECD rating of ‘largely compliant’ in the latest Peer Review of tax information exchange carried out by a team of OECD Global Forum expert assessors. This places Gibraltar on a par with the USA, Germany, the UK and Spain. The review included an onsite visit to Gibraltar by a Global Forum assessment team in 2019.
In accordance with the Peer Review Methodology, expert assessors are tax officials drawn from tax authorities of OECD Global Forum member jurisdictions with “substantial relevant experience of transparency and exchange of information for tax purposes, including relevant practical experience”.
Gibraltar has in place the legal and regulatory framework to give effect to its exchange of information mechanisms and a very wide treaty network covering all relevant partners.
Gibraltar’s response to the Second Round Peer Review assessment, including a series of meetings with public bodies and industry associations during the onsite visit to Gibraltar by the assessment team in 2019, was coordinated by the Income Tax Office and the Finance Centre Department.
Fabian Picardo QC MP, Chief Minister and Minister with responsibility for finance and the international exchange of information, thanked the Gibraltar competent authorities (Finance Centre Department and Income Tax Office) for their hard work over the past ten years, dealing with hundreds of requests for information from partner countries.
“The Gibraltar competent authorities’ labour-intensive but accomplished task has in no small measure contributed over the years to further consolidating Gibraltar’s solid reputation as an internationally-cooperative jurisdiction, notably in terms of transparency and the exchange of information for tax purposes” said Mr Picardo.
Albert Isola MP, Minister for Financial Services, echoed the Chief Minister’s comments and added: “This report confirms the findings of 2014, that Gibraltar is ‘Largely Compliant’, on a par with four major nations, that I am very pleased with and we should all be proud of,” said Minister Isola.
NOTES TO EDITORS
The OECD Global Forum’s Terms of Reference for such reviews break down the standard into three main parts: a) availability of information; b) access to information; and c) exchange of information on request (EOIR). These are sub-divided in practice in ten essential elements. Gibraltar attained four sub-ratings of each of ‘Compliant’ (including for Rights and Safeguards and Extent of EOIR Network) and ‘Largely Compliant’ (including for Availability of Information and Quality / Timeliness of Responses) plus two ‘Partially Compliant’ (availability of ownership and banking information).
The Gibraltar report is accessible via the OECD iLibrary: https://www.oecd- ilibrary.org/taxation/global-forum-on-transparency-and-exchange-of-information-for-tax- purposes-gibraltar-2020-second-round_8b4242db-en
According to the OECD Global Forum’s Methodology, for exchange of information to be effective a jurisdiction should have appropriate international exchange mechanisms in place with all relevant partners and it must ensure that the information sought is available and accessible to its competent authority.
The reviews are driven by peer jurisdictions. Hence, during the ‘peer reviews’ Global Forum member countries and territories are requested to provide feedback regarding their exchange of information experience with the assessed jurisdiction.
Areas of investigation and assessment
The areas of investigation considered by the assessment team included:
• The degree to which in practice information is maintained and by whom, including the oversight and enforcement activities applied to those persons who are obliged to maintain information.
• The practical application of compulsory powers to obtain information.
• The timeliness of responses in relation to different types of requests for information e.g. ownership, accounting, banking and other information.
• The quality and completeness of EOI responses provided, based on EOI partners’ feedback on the quality of the responses provided by the assessed jurisdiction.
• The comprehensiveness of the jurisdiction’s exchange of information programme such as the tools and processes that have been implemented in the jurisdiction for the processing of exchange of information requests.
• The adequacy of the organisational structure and resources having regard to the exchange of information demands made on the jurisdiction.
• The practical application of the jurisdiction’s rules regarding the confidentiality of information exchanged.
The Global Forum at its 1-2 September 2009 meeting in Mexico decided to engage in a robust and comprehensive monitoring and peer review process. In order to carry out an in-depth monitoring and peer review of the implementation of the standard of transparency and exchange of information for tax purposes, it set up a Peer Review Group (PRG), which developed the detailed Terms of Reference and the Methodology for a robust, transparent and accelerated process. The PRG is currently chaired by Singapore and co-chaired by the USA, United Kingdom, India and the Cayman Islands.
The 1st Round of reviews was conducted via a two-stage process, involving a Phase 1 Review, which assessed the legal and regulatory framework for transparency and the exchange of information for tax purposes and a Phase 2 Review, which assessed the implementation of the standard in practice. Members that had extensive experience in exchanging information were subject to ‘combined’ reviews, undergoing both a Phase 1 review and a Phase 2 review at the same time.
The first round of reviews was carried out according to a six-year schedule which commenced in March 2010 (hereafter the 2010 Schedule) with the final reviews being launched in the last quarter of 2015.
At its November 2013 plenary meeting in Jakarta, the Global Forum agreed that a second round of peer reviews with respect to EOIR (Exchange Of Information on Request) would be initiated following the completion of the 2010 Schedule. The second round of reviews, all carried out as combined reviews, commenced in 2016.
OECD – Gibraltar
Terms of reference