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The Exchange of Tax Information Portal is an initiative of the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes. The Global Forum conducts peer reviews of its member jurisdictions' ability to co-operate with other tax administrations in accordance with the internationally agreed standard. The standard provides for exchange of information on request where it is foreseeably relevant to the administration and enforcement of the domestic tax laws of the requesting jurisdiction. Effective exchange of information requires that jurisdictions ensure information is available, that it can be obtained by the tax authorities and that there are mechanisms in place allowing for the exchange of that information. The Global Forum's peer review process examines both the legal and regulatory aspects of exchange (Phase 1 reviews) and the exchange of information in practice (Phase 2). The EOI Portal will track the development of these peer reviews, including changes that jurisdictions make in response to the Global Forum's recommendations.

Peer Review: Phase 1 Peer Review Report: Estonia

This report for Estonia has been published on 5 May 2011. You can buy this report, or browse it online below.

Skip directly to the Executive Summary. You may also want to view the tables of determinations and ratings.


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Determinations and Recommendations

Jurisdictions should ensure that ownership and identity information for all relevant entities and arrangements is available to their competent authorities. (ToR A.1)
Determination Factors Recommendations
The element is in place, but certain aspects of the legal implementation of the element need improvement.   Companies incorporated outside of Estonia but having their effective management in Estonia which gives rise to a permanent establishment are not required to provide information identifying their owners as a part of registration requirements. Therefore, the availability of information that identifies any owners of such companies will generally depend on the law of the jurisdiction in which the company is incorporated and so may not be available in all cases.  In such cases, Estonia should ensure that ownership and identity information is available. 
Designation of the beneficiaries is not mandatory under the Foundations Act and it is unclear whether accounting information kept by the management board is sufficient to ascertain the identity of the beneficiaries.  An obligation should be established for foundations to ensure that information on the identity of the beneficiaries is systematically available to the competent authorities. 
Jurisdictions should ensure that reliable accounting records are kept for all relevant entities and arrangements. (ToR A.2)
Determination Factors Recommendations
The element is in place.      
Banking information should be available for all account-holders. (ToR A.3)
Determination Factors Recommendations
The element is in place.      
Competent authorities should have the power to obtain and provide information that is the subject of a request under an exchange of information arrangement from any person within their territorial jurisdiction who is in possession or control of such information (irrespective of any legal obligation on such person to maintain the secrecy of the information). (ToR B.1)
Determination Factors Recommendations
The element is not in place.   Estonia requires the name of the bank account holder before it is able to access and exchange relevant bank account information.  Estonia should amend its laws so that it can access bank account information once the identity of the person under examination is established. 
The rights and safeguards (e.g. notification, appeal rights) that apply to persons in the requested jurisdiction should be compatible with effective exchange of information. (ToR B.2)
Determination Factors Recommendations
The element is in place, but certain aspects of the legal implementation of the element need improvement.   With regard to EOI requests which concern a taxpayer residing in Estonia or in a third non-EU State, the Estonian tax authorities need to obtain the taxable person's consent before transmitting the requested information to the requesting State.  Estonia should amend its laws to be able to exchange information without requiring the taxable person's consent in all cases. 
Exchange of information mechanisms should provide for effective exchange of information. (ToR C.1)
Determination Factors Recommendations
The element is not in place.   It is not clear that Estonia’s legal framework would allow the terms of its agreements to be given full effect due to limitations in Estonia’s domestic law regarding access to bank information.  Estonia should amend its legislation so that it can give full effect to the terms of its EOI arrangements. 
One of Estonia's agreements does not provide for effective exchange of information.  Estonia should renogotiate its agreements as necessary so that they provide for effective exchange of information. 
Some of Estonia's DTCs with jurisdictions which are not be able to access information held by banks or fiduciaries for the purpose of EOI do not contain a provision similar to Article 26(5) OECD Model Tax Convention, resulting in an impediment to the effective EOI for tax purposes.  Estonia should work with the relevant DTC partners to incorporate Article 26(5) OECD Model Tax COnvention in these DTCs. 
The jurisdictions' network of information exchange mechanisms should cover all relevant partners. (ToR C.2)
Determination Factors Recommendations
The element is in place, but certain aspects of the legal implementation of the element need improvement.   Estonia has a comprehensive network of EOI arrangements with relevant partners but the issues identified in respect of element B.1 need to be addressed.  Estonia should ensure it gives full effect to the terms of its EOI arrangements in order to allow for full exchange of information to the standard with all its relevant partners. 
Estonia is actively seeking to expand its network of information exchange mechanisms.  Estonia should continue to develop its exchange of information network with all relevant partners, and take all steps necessary to bring concluded agreements into effect as quickly as possible. 
The jurisdictions' mechanisms for exchange of information should have adequate provisions to ensure the confidentiality of information received. (ToR C.3)
Determination Factors Recommendations
The element is in place, but certain aspects of the legal implementation of the element need improvement.   According to Estonia’s interpretation of treaty provisions based on Article 26(2) of the OECD Model Convention, certain information received by Estonia under an EOI request may be classified as public information under Estonia domestic laws and as such may be disclosed to the public.  Estonia should ensure that all information received under an EOI request, regardless of how they are classified under Estonia’s domestic laws, are disclosed only to authorised persons under the DTCs. 
The exchange of information mechanisms should respect the rights and safeguards of taxpayers and third parties. (ToR C.4)
Determination Factors Recommendations
The element is in place.      
The jurisdiction should provide information under its network of agreements in a timely manner. (ToR C.5)
Determination Factors Recommendations
The assessment team is not in a position to evaluate whether this element is in place, as it involves issues of practice that are dealt with in the Phase 2 review.   The assessment team is not in a position to evaluate whether this element is in place, as it involves issues of practice that are dealth with in the Phase 2 review.