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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: Belize Phase 2

This report for Belize has been published on 29 Oct 2014. 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.      
Phase 2 Rating Factors Recommendations
Partially Compliant.  During the review period, the IFSC did not have a regular oversight program in place to monitor compliance of the obligations placed on registered agents of IBCs or other licensed entities, including those using registered office services in Belize. In addition, the IFSC has not levied penalties when non-compliance is detected.   Belize should put in place an oversight program to ensure compliance with the obligations to maintain ownership information and exercise its enforcement powers as appropriate to ensure that such information is available in practice. 
In practice, bearer shares of IBCs may be held by registered agents that are not physically established in Belize, but merely use the back-office of another registered agent in Belize. In such cases, it is unclear whether ownership information in respect of such shares will always be available in Belize. Furthermore, enforcement of any obligations to have such information available in Belize may not be effective.  Belize is recommended to ensure that the ownership information maintained by registered agents, in particularly information on the beneficial owners of bearer shares issued by IBCs, is available in practice in Belize in all circumstances. 
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.  The new legislation which obliges all relevant entities to maintain accounting records and the underlying documentation for at least 5 years is very recent and has not been tested in practice.  Belize should monitor the enforcement of the new law to ensure that accounting records and underlying documentation are available in respect of all entities. Belize should also put in place an oversight system of all entities with regard to the accounting keeping requirements.  
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
Compliant.     
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
Compliant.     
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
Compliant.     
The jurisdictions' network of information exchange mechanisms should cover all relevant partners. (ToR C.2)
Determination Factors Recommendations
The element is in place.     Belize should continue to develop its network of EOI mechanisms with all relevant partners. 
Phase 2 Rating Factors Recommendations
Compliant.     
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.  Belize has three different competent authorities under its EOI arrangements. However, details of these competent authorities are not easily accessible and the necessary delegations have not been issued.  Belize should ensure that contact details of its competent authorities are easily accessible to all its EOI partners and provide for the necessary delegations as required.  
Belize has broadened its EOI network during and since the review period, but the competent authority is not adequately resourced and working procedures are not in place.   Belize should establish an EOI unit with a dedicated staff and equipped with appropriate resources, including procedure manual or guidelines. 
During the review period, Belize received six requests but was not able to answer all of them in a timely manner. Belize’s experience in effectively handling EOI requests remains limited.  Belize should monitor the incoming requests more vigorously to ensure that comprehensive replies are provided in a timely manner to its partners.