The Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes published, on July 30, nine peer review reports assessing compliance with the international standard on transparency and exchange of information on request (EOIR). And, Lebanon was positively rated.
The reports are part of the second round of Global Forum reviews evaluating compliance with the international standard on transparency and exchange of information on request.
Costa Rica, Croatia, Lebanon, Malaysia, and the Federated States of Micronesia, and Nauru received an overall rating of Largely Compliant, Botswana and Vanuatu were rated Partially Compliant, and Guatemala was rated Non-Compliant.
And in the report that contains the 2019 Peer Review Report on the Exchange of Information on Request of Lebanon, it was stated that: “The Global Forum rated Lebanon overall Largely Compliant with the international standard of transparency and exchange of information on requests handled over the period from 1 January 2015 to 31 December 2017.
Lebanon has made good progress in addressing the deficiencies identified in its previous report published in 2016, most importantly with regard to the bearer shares and absence of access to, and exchange of, banking information. Lebanon should still ensure that existing bearer shares are transferred to the State.
Lebanon has also strengthened its Anti-Money Laundering and tax legal frameworks in order to ensure that beneficial ownership information is available in line with the standard. Practical implementation of these new obligations requires further monitoring.
Lebanon’s effectiveness in answering requests is improving year after year as its experience grows (it received 77 requests in three years), however, Lebanon should monitor that all necessary resources are in place to respond, in a timely manner.
The Global Forum is the continuation of a forum that was created in the early 2000s in the context of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development’s work to address the risks to tax compliance posed by non-cooperative jurisdictions.
The original members of the Global Forum consisted of OECD countries and jurisdictions that had agreed to implement transparency and exchange of information for tax purposes.
The Global Forum now has 154 members on equal footing and is the premier international body for ensuring the implementation of the internationally agreed standards of transparency and exchange of information in the tax area.
Through an in-depth peer review process, the restructured Global Forum monitors that its members fully implement the standard of transparency and exchange of information they have committed to implement. It also works to establish a level playing field, even among countries that have not joined the Global Forum.
And as a response for this positive rating, the Minister of Finance, Ali Hassan Khalil, tweeted: “We are pleased with the official outcome of rating Lebanon largely compliant by the OECD Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes over the period from 1 January 2015 to 31 December 2017.”
He then added, “The credits for the satisfactory results of the classification goes to Lebanon and the Ministry of Finance by taking the necessary steps to ensure that Lebanon complies with international standards for financial cooperation and becomes a reliable financial center.”