In an effort to combat global tax evasion, over 50 countries have signed a Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement (the “Agreement”) that will provide for the automatic exchange of tax information between countries. The exchange of tax information will be based at the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters.
This agreement was signed on October 29, 2014, at the annual meeting of the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes (the “Global Forum”) in Berlin. Countries signing the Agreement include many of those represented in the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (the “OECD”) and all G20 countries. In addition, countries such as the British Virgin Islands and the Cayman Islands were signatories. Notably, the United States did not sign the Agreement.
During a September meeting of the G20 Finance Ministers in Cairns, the OECD presented the new Standard for Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information in Tax Matters (the “Standard”). The Standard provides for the automatic annual exchange of financial information, and most countries have committed to implementing the Standard on a reciprocal basis with all interested jurisdictions. It is anticipated that the Global Forum will establish a peer review process designed to ensure effective implementation of this automatic exchange. In addition, governments agreed to raise the bar on the information exchanged upon request, including a requirement that the beneficial ownership of legal entities be available to tax authorities and also exchanged with treaty partners.
Early adopters of the Agreement have pledged to begin exchange of tax information under the Agreement by September 2017 with more countries expected to follow in 2018.
As countries begin to share more and more tax information with each other, it is critically important for multinational businesses to consult with their tax advisors to insure that all compliance obligations in all necessary jurisdictions are fulfilled. If you have any concerns regarding your multinational tax compliance obligations, please don’t hesitate to contact WithumSmith+Brown, PC.
To ensure compliance with U.S. Treasury rules, unless expressly stated otherwise, any U.S. tax advice contained in this communication is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, by the recipient for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed under the Internal Revenue Code.