The OECD has issued new model disclosure rules that require lawyers, accountants, financial advisors, banks, and other service providers to inform tax authorities of any schemes they put in place for their clients to avoid reporting under the OECD/G20 Common Reporting Standard (CRS) or prevent the identification of the beneficial owners of entities or trusts.
About 100 territories will begin to automatically exchange information on offshore financial accounts under the CRS this year.
The new rules released March 9 are intended target those circumventing the CRS and their advisers, by introducing an obligation on a wide range of intermediaries to disclose these schemes. The new rules also require the reporting of structures that hide beneficial owners of offshore assets, companies, and trusts.
"Time is up for tax evaders and their advisors that still want to game the rules and continue to hide assets offshore", Pascal Saint-Amans, Director of the OECD Centre for Tax Policy and Administration, said. "With the automatic exchange of CRS information becoming a global reality this year, it is the right moment to get hold of those taxpayers and advisors that attempt to undermine the reporting on offshore assets and that try to play the new global tax transparency framework."
"The mandatory disclosure rules will be a powerful tool to detect taxpayers that continue to refuse to be compliant with their obligations to declare their assets and income to their tax authorities. They will also have a deterrent effect against the design, marketing, and use of schemes to avoid CRS reporting or hide beneficial owners behind opaque offshore structures. This is key both for the integrity of the CRS and for making sure that taxpayers that can afford to pay advisors and to put in place complex offshore structures do not get a free ride."
The model disclosure rules will be submitted to the G7 presidency and are part of a wider strategy of the OECD to monitor and act upon tendencies in the market that try to avoid CRS reporting and hide assets offshore. As part of this work, the OECD is also addressing cases of abuse of "golden visas" and similar schemes to circumvent CRS reporting.
Hungary and Kyrgystan have begun DTA negotiations, the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade announced on February 28, 2018.
Morocco and Cape Verde will begin DTA negotiations in March 2018, Morocco's Tax Agency announced.
The DTA signed between Mexico and Saudi Arabia entered into force on March 1, 2018, following the publication in Mexico's official Gazette of a law ratifying the agreement on February 26, 2018.
Bangladesh and Morocco signed a DTA on March 1, 2018.
Meeting over two days ending February 28, 2018, representatives from Pakistan and the Philippines agreed to renegotiate their DTA.
The UK and Mauritius signed a DTA on February 28, 2018.
Singapore signed a DTA with Tunisia on February 27, 2018.
Bahrain's King, Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, has approved a law ratifying the DTA Protocol signed with the Philippines, state media reported on February 20, 2018.
The Luxembourg Government on February 23, 2018, reported it is pushing for the negotiation of an amended DTA with Oman.
According to a monthly update from the Mexican Government, Mexico's DTA with Jamaica entered into force on February 24, 2018.
According to preliminary media reports, Switzerland's upper house of parliament of February 26, 2018, approved laws to ratify the DTAs signed with Kosovo and Pakistan and a Protocol with Latvia.
The Luxembourg Government announced that it is engaged in DTA negotiations with 15 countries, in a January 29, 2018, update, including newly DTA negotiations with the UK.
Ireland and Ghana signed a DTA on February 7, 2018.
According to a statement from the President's office, Iran's Cabinet on February 18, 2018, approved the signing of DTAs with Sweden, Lithuania, and Japan.
On February 19, 2018, the Philippines Senate adopted three resolutions ratifying agreements for the avoidance of double taxation with Mexico, Thailand, and Sri Lanka.
Japan and Spain have agreed a DTA in principle, to replace their existing pact, the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced February 21, 2018.
The Armenian Ministry of Finance said February 22, 2018, that a DTA had been initialed after four days of negotiations with Iraq.
India's Ministry of Finance on February 22, 2018, revealed that an updated DTA between India and Kenya had been published in the Official Gazette, to replace the agreement in place between the two countries since 1985.
South Africa's DTA Protocol with Brazil entered into force on February 10, 2018.
Moldova's Cabinet on January 31, 2018, approved a law to ratify the DTA signed with Georgia in November 2017.
According to preliminary media reports, Kazakhstan's Senate on February 15, 2018, approved a law to ratify a Protocol to the DTA with Azerbaijan.
Poland published an order in its Official Gazette on February 8, 2018, to bring the DTA signed with Ethiopia in 2015 into force. The agreement entered into force on February 14, 2018.
Paraguay's Government on February 11, 2018, announced the signing of a DTA with Qatar.
Guernsey's TIEA with Portugal will enter into force March 15, 2018, according to a February 20, 2018, update from the Guernsey Government.
The Botswana Government has announced that the country will sign a DTA Protocol with Zimbabwe by the end of the year.