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Gibraltar sets out tax transparency commitment in global forum

Gibraltar yesterday participated in a global tax forum that brought together over 500 delegates from 131 jurisdictions, in what No.6 Convent Place said was a demonstration of the Rock’s commitment to tax transparency.

The Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo, attended the 10th anniversary meeting of the Global Forum of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development [OECD], which was held in Paris. He was joined by the Financial Secretary Albert Mena, Commissioner for Income Tax, John Lester and Finance Centre Director, Jimmy Tipping.

Ten years since the G20 declared the end of banking secrecy, the international community has achieved “unprecedented success” in using new transparency standards to fight offshore tax evasion, the OECD said yesterday.

“Working through the Global Forum, 158 member jurisdictions have implemented robust standards that have prompted a tidal shift in exchange of information for tax purposes,” the OECD added.

According to No.6, Gibraltar’s presence at the OECD meeting “…is a demonstration to the world of our commitment to tax transparency and compliance with international rules in respect of the exchange of tax information on a level playing field basis.”

“Gibraltar has been working with the OECD for more than a decade. I attended the meeting of the OECD in Berlin in 2014 when Gibraltar became a signatory to the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance, which I signed as Minister for Finance,” Mr Picardo said.

“Our signature of that instrument has put us in a good place to show the world that Gibraltar is a compliant jurisdiction and one that maintains the highest standards of regulation and exchange of information.”

“That really helps to put in context the nonsensical attacks we suffer from some who suggest that Gibraltar is somehow not at the forefront of international cooperation.”

“I am very clear that the only business model that will work in future is one based on compliance and transparency.”

“As the world changes and becomes more and more digital and globalised, and data is more easily searched and mined, there will be no real or legitimate business to be done in pretending to assist people to hide money from other tax authorities.”

“My presence at this important meeting of the OECD sends that signal and has also enabled me to meet the Ministers of Finance and Exchange of Information of many other countries in the world.”

As if to illustrate that commitment, a quote from the Chief Minister was one of 20 quotes scrolling on video screens throughout the OECD building and the conference arena itself during the course of the session in Paris yesterday.

The quote read: “Gibraltar’s close participation in the Global Forum from the outset has helped to further consolidate its reputation at the forefront of internationally cooperative and compliant mainstream financial centres.”

The opening session of the meeting was addressed by Angel Gurria, the Secretary General of the OECD, who reflected on the progress that has been made in the decade since the work of the Global Forum had commenced.

“The Global Forum has been a game-changer,” Mr Gurría said.

“Thanks to international co operation, tax authorities now have access to a huge trove of information that was previously beyond reach. Tax authorities are talking to each other and taxpayers are starting to understand that there’s nowhere left to hide. The benefits to the tax system’s fairness are enormous,” Mr Gurría said.

He was supported in his remarks by the French Minister for Finance, Bruno Le Maire, who called for a debate to start on a global minimum corporate tax rate to be introduced, with France proposing a rate of 12.5%, 2.5% more than Gibraltar’s current rate of 10%.

These remarks were followed by statements from EU Commissioner Pierre Moscovicci, who was appearing for his last public engagement as an EU Commissioner.

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