Seven more countries assessed for tax transparency

14 April 2011

The OECD’s Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Tax Information has published evaluation reports on Aruba, the Bahamas, Belgium, Estonia, Ghana, Canada and Germany.

The peer review evaluations fall into two types. Aruba, The Bahamas, Belgium, Estonia and Ghana were undergoing “Phase 1 tests”, which merely checked their legal and regulatory preparedness for tax information exchange, not whether it is actually happening. The examinations of Canada and Germany combined a Phase 1 check with an assessment of their implementation of tax information exchange agreements (TIEAs) in practice – a “Phase 2 test”.

The OECD’s summary of the results avoids the language of pass and fail, but, briefly:

• The Bahamas was found adequate on all Phase 1 counts – except that it needs to increase the availability of accounting information for international companies, registered private and foreign-incorporated companies, authorised purpose trusts and foundations.

• Aruba needs to improve the availability of information on limited partnerships and some companies. It also needs to move quickly to bring into force the TIEAs it has signed over the past two years.

• Belgium has signed 41 TIEAs in the past two years, but only one of them has ever been brought into force. The country must ratify a “significant number” of these agreements before it can move to the next stage (Phase 2).

• Estonia’s strict bank secrecy means it is not ready to sign tax information exchange agreements. It also needs to improve availability of information on foreign companies and foundations.

• Ghana does have a legal framework suitable for tax information exchange, though it has only recently relaxed its banking secrecy laws. It too needs to improve availability of information on foreign companies, trusts, and underlying documentation for accounting records.


Canada and Germany, both members of the influential G7 group of nations, were fully approved by their peer reviewers for both Phase 1 and Phase 2. However they were advised to improve availability of ownership information of bearer shares and nominees, and the reviewers pointed out that Germany was slow to respond to requests for assistance.


• The OECD Global Forum has so far published reports on 25 of its members. Ten were published in January, four of which – Barbados, San Marino, the Seychelles, and Trinidad and Tobago – failed their Phase One reviews. Another 35 reviews will be completed by November for the G20 Summit at Cannes.




Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development



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