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Guernsey Fully Compliant With Latest Tax Transparency Standards

by Jason Gorringe, Lowtax.net, London
26 July, 2018

Guernsey has received an overall rating of "compliant" from the OECD's Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes.

The rating follows the second round of a Global Forum peer review to assess the territory's compliance with the international standard on tax transparency and exchange of information on request.

Guernsey and Jersey were both rated Largely Compliant after the first round of reviews ended in 2016. Confirmation now that Guernsey is compliant matches the ratings earlier awarded to Jersey and the Isle of Man.

Gavin St Pier, President of the Policy and Resources Committee, welcomed the rating, which is the best possible, stating: "Time and time again, whenever we are objectively assessed, we come out amongst the very top of international assessments, ratings, and league tables."

St Pier said a major part of the Global Forum review process focused on the effectiveness of Guernsey's beneficial ownership register. He said the Global Forum supported Guernsey's view that the register is effective, noting that information on the register is verified by regulated service providers, updated on a near-to-real-time basis, and accessible by law enforcement and tax authorities on request.

The Global Forum is the leading multilateral body mandated to ensure that jurisdictions around the world adhere to and effectively implement international tax transparency standards. Reviews assess jurisdictions against updated international standards, which incorporate beneficial ownership information of all legal entities and arrangements.

The rating is particularly noteworthy given the UK's efforts earlier this year to compel the territory, as well as the other Crown Dependencies, to introduce a publicly accessible register of beneficial ownership information. Eventually an amendment was made to the UK Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018 to exclude the Crown Dependencies, but the UK's Overseas Territories remain obligated to adopt a public register showing the beneficial owners of legal entities by 2020 or face having a register imposed. The Overseas Territories are reportedly preparing a legal challenge to the UK legislation.

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