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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: Jamaica Phase 2 Peer Review

This report for Jamaica has been published on 22 Nov 2013. 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.   Information is not required to be maintained by a company nor is it otherwise available to the competent authority that identifies the persons in an ownership chain where a legal owner in a public company acts on behalf of other person as a nominee or under similar arrangement.  Jamaica should establish a requirement that information is maintained indicating the person on whose behalf any legal owner holds his interest or shares in the public company or body corporate. 
There are insufficient mechanisms in place to ensure the availability of information identifying the owners of share warrants to bearer that may have been issued by a public company.  Jamaica should take necessary measures to ensure that robust mechanisms are in place to identify the owners of these share warrants to bearer.  
Companies incorporated outside of Jamaica but having their central management and control in Jamaica are not required to provide information identifying their owners as a part of registration requirements and foreign companies are not required to compulsorily keep a share register in Jamaica. Therefore, the information that identifies the owners of foreign companies is not available.  As Jamaica asserts a sufficient nexus for taxing jurisdiction on a management and control basis, it should require submission of information on its owners when foreign companies register or when they apply for their tax file number and Jamaica should take necessary steps to require foreign companies to keep register of Jamaican shareholders in Jamaica. 
Phase 2 Rating Factors Recommendations
Partially Compliant.   During the period of review, the penalties provided under the relevant tax laws and commercial laws appear to be insufficient in providing an effective deterrence against non-compliance. The enforcement actions undertaken by Jamaican authorities also do not appear to be adequate or effective in ensuring the compliance with the filing and reporting obligations under the relevant laws.  It is recommended that Jamaica reviews the adequacy of the penalties provided under the relevant commercial laws to ensure that they are effective in providing deterrence against non-compliance of the filing and reporting obligations. In addition, the Jamaican authorities should review its internal procedures for carrying out the enforcement actions to ensure that the filing and reporting obligations are complied with to ensure the availability of identity information of all relevant entities and arrangements. 
It is not clear whether information identifying partners of a limited partnership, which does not carry on a business in Jamaica or liable to tax in Jamaica, is consistently available with the Public Record Office in practice.  Jamaica should put in place proper mechanisms to ensure that information identifying partners of a limited partnership can be made fully available regardless of whether the limited partnership is carrying on a business in Jamaica or liable to tax in Jamaica. 
It is not clear whether the mechanisms that are in place to ensure that information identifying the settlor(s) and beneficiaries of a trust is available with the relevant authorities are effective in practice.  Jamaica should put in place proper and robust mechanisms to ensure that information identifying the settlor(s) and beneficiaries of a trust is fully available with either the relevant authorities or the trustee. 
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.      
Phase 2 Rating Factors Recommendations
Largely Compliant.   During the period of review, the penalties provided under the relevant tax laws and commercial laws appear to be insufficient in providing an effective deterrence against non-compliance. The enforcement actions undertaken by Jamaican authorities also do not appear to be adequate or effective in ensuring the compliance with the filing and reporting obligations under the relevant laws.  It is recommended that Jamaica reviews the adequacy of the penalties provided under the relevant commercial laws to ensure that they are effective in providing deterrence against non-compliance of the filing and reporting obligations. In addition, the Jamaican authorities should review its internal procedures for carrying out the enforcement actions to ensure that the filing and reporting obligations are complied with to ensure the availability of accounting information of all relevant entities and arrangements. 
The amendments to the Revenue Administration Act to address the lack of express obligations to maintain underlying documentations and to retain accounting records and documents for at least 7 years were passed after the review period and onsite visit and the effectiveness of the new law could not be ascertained or verified.  Jamaica should monitor the effectiveness of the new law and ensure that appropriate enforcement actions are conducted by the relevant authorities on a regularly basis. 
Banking information should be available for all account-holders. (ToR A.3)
Determination Factors Recommendations
The element is in place.      
Phase 2 Rating Factors Recommendations
Compliant.      
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 in place.      
Phase 2 Rating Factors Recommendations
Largely Compliant.   While the deficiencies identified in the phase 1 review do not appear to have had any adverse impact on effective EOI in practice, the exercise of access powers has been limited and a dedicated EOI Unit was put in place 4 months before the end of the review period.   Jamaica should continue to implement the recommendations identified in phase 1 review expeditiously and ensure that its procedures are exercised as appropriate by the EOI Unit. 
The amendments to the Revenue Administration Act to address the domestic tax interest issue were passed by the Jamaican Parliament after the review period and the onsite visit and the effectiveness of the implementation of the new law could not be ascertained or verified.  Jamaica should put in place appropriate procedures to implement the new access powers provided under the amended Revenue Administration Act and monitor its effectiveness. 
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.      
Phase 2 Rating Factors Recommendations
Largely Compliant.   The amendments to the Revenue Administration Act to address the prior notification of taxpayer issue were approved by the Jamaican Parliament after the review period and the onsite visit and the effectiveness of the implementation of the new law could not be ascertained or verified.  Jamaica should put in place appropriate procedures to implement the exceptions provided under s.17G(4A) of the amended Revenue Administration Act and ensure that the exceptions can be exercised without obstacle by the competent authority. 
Exchange of information mechanisms should provide for effective exchange of information. (ToR C.1)
Determination Factors Recommendations
The element is in place.      
Phase 2 Rating Factors Recommendations
Largely Compliant.   The amendments to the Revenue Administration Act to address the domestic tax interest requirement were passed by the Jamaican Parliament after the review period and the onsite visit and the effectiveness of the implementation of the new law could not be ascertained or verified.  Jamaica should put in place appropriate procedures to implement the new access powers provided under the amended Revenue Administration Act and monitor its effectiveness. 
The jurisdictions' network of information exchange mechanisms should cover all relevant partners. (ToR C.2)
Determination Factors Recommendations
The element is in place.     It is recommended that the Jamaican government continue to conclude agreements with additional relevant partners. 
Phase 2 Rating Factors Recommendations
Largely Compliant.   Jamaica has not always responded to requests for negotiations to conclude EOI agreement in a timely manner.  Jamaica should respond to all requests to negotiate EOI agreements in a timely manner. 
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.      
Phase 2 Rating Factors Recommendations
Compliant.      
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.      
Phase 2 Rating Factors Recommendations
Compliant.      
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.      
Phase 2 Rating Factors Recommendations
Largely Compliant.   The operation and efficiency of the EOI Unit could not be fully assessed as it was established in March 2012 towards the end of the period under review.  Jamaica should monitor the functioning of the new EOI Unit and the new processes that were put in place to ensure that EOI requests are dealt with expeditiously. Jamaica should also monitor the new procedure in place to provide status updates to Jamaica’s EOI partners in cases where the EOI Unit is unable to provide a complete response within 90 days.