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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: Peer Review Report Combined Phase 1 and Phase 2 - United Kingdom

This report for United Kingdom has been published on 12 Sep 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.   There may be a limited number of bearer shares in circulation at present but no instances of bearer shares were found in the course of the review. Nevertheless, the mechanisms in place to ensure the availability of information allowing for identification of their owners are insufficient.  The United Kingdom should either take necessary measures to ensure that robust mechanisms are in place to identify the owners of bearer shares or eliminate such shares. 
Phase 2 Rating Factors Recommendations
     
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
     
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
     
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.   The UK cannot currently use its statutory information gathering powers for international exchange of information purposes where the name of the taxpayer is not known.  The UK should ensure that there is a legal basis to access third party information for EOI purposes in line with the standard even in cases where the name of the taxpayer cannot be established. 
The formal process to obtain information (other than information already in the possession of HMRC or information which is voluntarily provided to HMRC) is complex and on average takes 12 months to complete before information is provided to the requesting jurisdiction. This process unduly delays effective exchange of information.  The entire process for issuance of a formal notice to obtain information should be reviewed with a view to ensuring that it is compatible with effective international exchange of information in tax matters. 
Phase 2 Rating Factors Recommendations
     
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
     
Exchange of information mechanisms should provide for effective exchange of information. (ToR C.1)
Determination Factors Recommendations
The element is in place, but certain aspects of the legal implementation of the element need improvement.   The United Kingdom has a very extensive network of EOI agreements. The legal framework in the UK does not however allow the terms of its agreements to be given full effect due to limitations in the UK’s domestic laws which affect only one limited category of cases.  It is recommended that the UK enact necessary legislation which will enable it to comply with and give full effect to its EOI agreements. 
  It is recommended that the UK continues its program of renegotiating the last of its older treaties which are not yet to the standard. 
Phase 2 Rating Factors Recommendations
     
The jurisdictions' network of information exchange mechanisms should cover all relevant partners. (ToR C.2)
Determination Factors Recommendations
The element is in place.     The UK should continue to develop its EOI network to the standard with all relevant partners. 
Phase 2 Rating Factors Recommendations
     
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
     
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
     
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.   Data from peers shows that the UK does not routinely provide requesting parties with status updates when requested information is not provided within 90 days of receipt of the request.  The UK should ensure that it has the necessary processes in place to be able to provide status updates within 90 days. 
Phase 2 Rating Factors Recommendations