OECD (OCSE) Cyprus has been found non-compliant, like Luxembourg, the British Virgin Islands and the Seychelles.

OECD (OCSE) Cyprus has been found non-compliant, like Luxembourg, the British Virgin Islands and the Seychelles.

International tax rules have been designed to eliminate double taxation. Unfortunately, as they have not kept pace with the way business operated in a global environment, they have facilitated double non-taxation. As countries are keen on remaining sovereign from a tax perspective (consent to tax is at the core of sovereignty in our democracies), harmonisation has proved difficult if not impossible, even in the European Union. This is why the international efforts are targeted at better co-ordination rather than harmonisation to limit avoidance risks.

The Global Forum conducts peer reviews of all its 122 members to assess whether their laws and practices are in accordance with the international standard. These reviews are published and all countries are rated on their performance. The Global Forum has undertaken more than 100 reviews and has now finalised the ratings of 71 jurisdictions. Overall, its members have shown a remarkable commitment to bringing their laws and practices into line with the standard, thus allowing them to answer requests for information from their international partners. For example, many jurisdictions have abolished or immobilised bearer shares or amended their laws to allow access to bank information as result of recommendations made during their peer reviews.  However, where a jurisdiction’s laws or practices do not allow for exchange of information in accordance with the international standard, that country may be given a rating of Non-Compliant or Partially Compliant depending on the seriousness of the deficiencies. In addition, there are currently 12 jurisdictions that cannot be rated because their legal and regulatory frameworks are not considered sufficiently robust to allow this. As you know, Cyprus has been found non-compliant, like Luxembourg, the British Virgin Islands and the Seychelles.

Pascal Saint-Amans
director of the OECD Centre for Tax Policy and Administration at OECD
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