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FATF To Support OECD's Push For Tax Transparency

by Jason Gorringe, Lowtax.net, London
12 October, 2016

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which sets international standards on combating money laundering and terrorism financing, will place greater emphasis on global transparency standards, it has told G-20 finance ministers.

In a report prepared for the G-20, the FATF said work is ongoing to improve the implementation of international standards on transparency, including on the availability and exchange of beneficial ownership information, to prevent the misuse of companies, trusts, and other corporate vehicles.

The organization said: "Improving transparency has been on the FATF agenda since 2003 when it first introduced international standards on beneficial ownership. Subsequent assessments of countries highlighted weaknesses in the way many countries had implemented these standards. In 2012, the FATF strengthened the standards and addressed vulnerabilities such as bearer shares. The FATF standards now set out comprehensive measures to ensure transparency to prevent the misuse of corporate vehicles, which are globally recognized and are also used in the peer review process of the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes (Global Forum)"

The FATF said the challenge today is not the lack of international standards to improve transparency, but instead the effective implementation of these standards. It noted recent revelations, as well as a review of the first nine country reports in FATF's current assessment cycle, had highlighted that many countries still do not implement the beneficial ownership requirements effectively.

The FATF said it will work on helping countries to improve implementation by placing more emphasis on beneficial ownership in the follow-up processes to FATF reviews, and by providing clear and consistent recommendations to assessed countries on how to improve effective implementation of beneficial ownership requirements.

Last, the FATF said it will enhance its cooperation with the OECD's Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes to reinforce each other's work to improve transparency in relation to beneficial ownership.

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