OECD assesses Cayman’s tax information exchange regime

A team of expert assessors from the OECD Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes visited the Cayman Islands this month to conduct a peer review of the way Cayman applies the Global Forum’s international standards.

The process for exchanging tax information on request is based on bilateral agreements that enable foreign tax authorities and government agencies to exchange taxpayer information to ensure compliance.

The Cayman Islands has signed tax information exchange agreements with 37 countries, 30 of which are in effect.

The assessors were on island from Jan. 9-11 as part of the peer review, which was formally launched in September 2016. In preparation for the visit, the Global Forum issued a questionnaire to the Ministry of Financial Services to determine how Cayman applies the international standards.

“We now look forward to working with the Global Forum over the coming months to finalize the report,” said Minister of Financial Services Wayne Panton. “Given our track record on tax cooperation over the years, we remain optimistic that our regime is in line with global standards.”

Minister Panton thanked all agencies and associations for meeting with the assessment team and for providing both data and context regarding Cayman’s international tax cooperation framework.

The OCED currently considers Cayman largely compliant in terms of the availability of information, access to information and the exchange of information.

In the first phase, the Global Forum’s peer review process examines the regulatory aspects of exchange. In the second stage, the exchange of information in practice is examined.

A phase two report released in April 2013 stated that Cayman had addressed all recommendations contained in a 2010 phase one report on the jurisdiction. The only shortcomings related to the availability of certain types of ownership and accounting information.

The Ministry of Financial Services hosted Mary O’Leary of the Global Forum Secretariat, Virginia Tarris from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, and Mukhta Toofanee from the Mauritius Revenue Authority for Cayman’s three-day assessment.

The expert assessors are selected by the Global Forum to conduct the peer reviews and do not represent the organizations for which they work.

In addition to meeting with Minister Panton, the assessors met with the attorney general, the departments for International Tax Cooperation and Financial Services Policy and Legislation, the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority, the General Registry, the Financial Reporting Authority and the Cayman Islands Compliance Association.

All of the Global Forum’s 137 member countries, including Cayman, will be assessed during this current round of peer reviews.

The reviews are conducted under the Global Forum’s revised terms of reference, which again assess a member country’s legal framework and the effectiveness of the practical implementation of the international standard.

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