OECD Takes Further Steps To Ending Offshore Tax Evasion

The OECD has published a Common Reporting Standard Implementation Handbook to assist government officials in the implementation of the Standard for the Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information in Tax Matters.

The handbook is the first edition and provides practical guidance to assist government officials and financial institutions in the implementation of the Standard. The OECD states that the Handbook is intended to be a “living” document which will be updated on a regular basis. Further details on the OECD publication are set out below.

Common Reporting Standard Implementation Handbook (the CRS Handbook): this first edition provides practical guidance to assist government officials and financial institutions in the implementation of the Standard.

It sets out the necessary steps for implementation and will help financial institutions and governments implement the Standard more efficiently by promoting the consistent use of optional provisions, identifying areas for alignment with FATCA and addressing the operational and transitional challenges resulting from the staggered implementation of the Standard.

It also contains answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) received from business and governments, with a view to furthering the effective implementation of the Standard. The Handbook is intended to be a “living” document and will be updated on a regular basis.

Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Programmes: this second edition contains a wealth of practical experience from 47 countries in relation to their voluntary disclosure programmes.

The guidance on the design and implementation of such programmes has been updated, particularly taking into account the views of private client advisers. The limited time left until the automatic exchange of information under the Standard becomes a reality will in many instances be the last window of opportunity for non-compliant taxpayers to voluntarily disclose.

This is therefore a crucial moment to update the publication and reflects OECD policy of encouraging countries to examine voluntary compliance strategies that enable non-compliant taxpayers to come forward.

Model Protocol to the Tax Information Exchange Agreements (TIEAs): this report provides the basis for jurisdictions wishing to extend the scope of their existing TIEAs to also cover the automatic and/or spontaneous exchange of tax information.

The Standard calls on jurisdictions to obtain information from their financial institutions and automatically exchange that information with other jurisdictions on an annual basis.

Over 90 jurisdictions have committed to implement the Standard, with the first exchanges starting in 2017/2018, subject to the completion of necessary legislative procedures.

 

 

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