Peer reviews of Exchange of Information on Request (EOIR) have been the Global Forum’s main activity since 2009.
The peer review process evaluates jurisdictions’ compliance with the international standard of transparency and exchange of information on request.
The international standard against which jurisdictions are assessed provides for exchange on request of foreseeable relevance information for carrying out the provisions of a tax convention or for the administration or enforcement of the domestic tax laws of a requesting party.
The Global Forum Terms of Reference break down the standard in ten essential elements, divided into three main parts: A – availability of information, B – access to information, C – exchange of information. For the exchange of information to be effective, each jurisdiction should have appropriate international EOI instruments in place with all relevant partners, but it must also make sure that the information sought is available and accessible to its competent authority. Information which is not available or cannot be accessed cannot be exchanged. However, even if a jurisdiction never exchanges information, implementing the Global Forum’s standards on availability of and access to information is key to ensuring that it can protect its own domestic tax base.
The second round of peer reviews were launched in July 2016 under strengthened Terms of Reference. These include a strengthened standard on the availability of beneficial ownership information – as set out by the FATF standard – as well as its access by the tax authorities. Previously, the Global Forum standard only required the availability of legal ownership and identity information of legal entities and arrangements. This new requirement will strengthen the fight against anonymous shell companies and the use of legal arrangements to conceal ownership identity.