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Maltese FM Promotes Tax Transparency Efforts

by Jason Gorringe, Lowtax.net, London
31 March, 2014

Malta's Finance Minister, Edward Scicluna, promoted the island's initiatives to ensure tax transparency during the 15th meeting of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's (OECD) Global Forum Peer Review Group in March 2014.

"Malta is committed towards tax transparency, and has tirelessly and consistently undertaken efforts in that regard, because we fully believe in the importance of this process," Scicluna said.

The finance minister noted that Malta has engaged in various international initiatives concerning transparency in tax matters since the year 2000. Back then, Malta gave an advanced commitment not to introduce harmful tax practices, and together with the Netherlands, chaired the Global Forum Sub-group that drafted the Tax Information Exchange Agreement 2002 Model – a model that has since become the international standard in relation to tax transparency, he pointed out.

Scicluna said that since Malta joined the European Union in 2004, the country has adopted all standards and requirements applying in the EU relating to exchange of information such as those required under the Savings Tax Directive and the EU Administrative Cooperation Directive.

He said that, more recently, Malta has continued to engage in other initiatives in tax transparency by becoming a party to the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Assistance in Tax Matters, and has signed an Intergovernmental Agreement with the United States of America to implement FATCA. Malta has also joined the so-called G5-plus initiative on automatic exchange of information. In addition, Malta will also be participating in the Global Forum Automatic Exchange of Information Group meetings.

"At the domestic level, Malta has strengthened its tax legislation and its internal procedures in order to be in a better position to exchange information in an effective and efficient manner with its tax treaty partners. Malta has also worked to ensure that the necessary safeguards concerning confidentiality are in place. This brought Malta in line with the current standard, and eventually led to the positive results that were published in the Global Forum report on Malta's legal and regulatory practices in this area," Scicluna said.

"All these steps constitute concrete instances of Malta's continued commitment towards tax transparency, and these we have undertaken because we fully believe in the importance of this process," he added.

The minister concluded by saying that taxes are crucial for state-building, economic opportunity and social cohesion. "Overall, an open, transparent and accountable government with an equitable and fair tax system can help significantly in improving the lives of all its citizens."

The OECD Global Forum Peer Review Group meeting was attended by roughly 100 participants from various countries, including the Cayman Islands, France, Germany, China, India, Italy, Japan, Mauritius, the Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kindgdom, and the United States.

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