Exchange of Information

INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL SERVICES COMMISSION

 

 EXCHANGE OF INFORMATION

 

In keeping with the cooperative environment and, at the same time, implementing the highest international standards of cooperation in the tax field, on 27TH May 2010 the Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters was amended by Protocol and was opened for signature. Belize became a signatory to the Convention on 29TH May 2013. This amended Convention enables international co-operation for operation of national tax laws, while respecting the fundamental rights of taxpayers. It also provides for all other forms of administrative co-operation between jurisdictions in the assessment and collection of taxes.

 

 

  1. EXCHANGE OF INFORMATION ON REQUEST


 

The Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters Act, 2014 (Act No. 15 of 2014) (“the Act”), was enacted in Belize on 27TH June 2014 to give effect to the Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters (“the Convention”), thus, initially implementing the exchange of information on request (“EOIR”).

 

Article 4 (1) states: “The Parties shall exchange any information, in particular as provided in this section, that is foreseeably relevant to.   a) the assessment and collection of tax, and the recovery and enforcement of tax claims and b) the prosecution before an administrative authority or the initiation of prosecution before a judicial body. Information which is unlikely to be relevant to these purposes shall not be exchanged under this Convention.

 

(2) statesA Party may use information obtained under this Convention as evidence before a criminal court only if prior authorisation has been given by the Party which has supplied the information. However, any two or more Parties may mutually agree to waive the condition of prior authorisation.”

 

(3) states Any Party may, by a declaration addressed to one of the depositaries, indicate that, according to its internal legislation, its authorities may inform its resident or national before transmitting information concerning him, in conformity with Articles 5 and 7.”

 

Article 5(1) of the Convention provides for “At the request of the applicant State, the requested State shall provide the applicant State with any information referred to in Article 4 which concerns particular persons or transactions.” and Article 5(2) provides that “If the information available in the tax files of the requested State is not sufficient to enable it to comply with the request for information, that State shall take all relevant measures to provide the applicant State with the information referred to in Article 4 of the Convention.

 

 

  1. AUTOMATIC EXCHANGE OF INFORMATION

 

The G20 demonstrated an interest in establishing a global automatic exchange standard which led to a formal request to the OECD to develop a common reporting standard. In February 2014, the OECD agreed on the text of the common reporting standard which was followed by a commitment of 44 countries to adopt and implement these standards. With the CRS being developed the Global Forum commenced a commitment process among its members and, consequently, 94 jurisdictions committed to its implementation by 2017. The Common Reporting Standards (“CRS”) sets out a minimum standard on the information to be exchanged with competent authorities of participating jurisdictions.

 

Subsequently, on the 29th October 2015, Belize signed the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement on Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information which provides a standardised and efficient mechanism to facilitate the automatic exchange of information (“AEOI”) in accordance with the Standard for Automatic Exchange of Financial Information in Tax Matters and avoids the need for several bilateral agreements to be concluded.

 

Article 6 of the Convention states, “With respect to categories of cases and in accordance with procedures which they shall determine by mutual agreement, two or more Parties shall automatically exchange the information referred to in Article 4.”

 

On 16th February 2017, the Act was amended to facilitate the automatic exchange of information on financial accounts.

 

Competent Authorities for Exchange of Information are listed below:

 

Mr. Joseph Waight – Overall Competent Authority

Financial Secretary

Ministry of Finance

Sir Edney Cain Building

Belmopan, Belize

Telephone No: +501 -822-2152/2158

Email Address: joseph.waight@mof.gov.bz

 

Mrs. Neri J. Matus – Competent Authority for EOIR only

Director General

International Financial Services Commission

Sir Edney Cain Building

Belmopan, Belize

Telephone No. +501-822-3800/2974

Email Address: director@ifsc.gov.bz

 

Mrs. Ann Castillo –   Competent Authority for AEOI only

Commissioner of Income Tax

Charles Bartlett Hyde Building

Mahogany Street, Belize City

Belize

Telephone No. +501-222-4956/4776

Email Address: Ann.Cayetano@itx.gov.bz