NZ’s Tax Info Exchange Mechanisms Win International Approval

June 2, 2011 International TaxationNew Zealand Taxation

Analyzing Financial DataA recent international review has praised New Zealand’s tax information exchange mechanisms, describing them as effective and well complemented by the country’s extensive network of international tax information exchange agreements.

New Zealand’s implementation of international tax information exchange mechanisms were evaluated in an international peer review led by the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes, with a report on the findings being released on June 1st.

According to conclusions drawn in the report, the New Zealand government and the New Zealand tax authorities have satisfactorily implemented international standards for tax information exchange and transparency. The country’s legal framework was praised for not having bank secrecy rules, or legal information exchange restrictions based on dual criminality or domestic tax interest principles.

During the Global Forum’s on-site review, New Zealand’s tax authorities were judged as having adequate means and capabilities to obtain information regarding individuals’ and companies’ bank details, ownership, identities, and accounting information. The country’s legal framework also provides adequate means for other governments to request, receive, and utilize tax information and data from other jurisdictions. It was found that New Zealand tax authorities generally hold, or can quickly access, adequate amounts of data regarding locally registered business entities, without the involvement of field offices, meaning that international information requests can be processed quickly.

Despite the overall positive review, the report’s authors suggested a small number of improvements that could be made to New Zealand’s tax information exchange capabilities. It was suggested that the government should investigate means of ensuring that ownership and identity information is available on the owners of companies with nominee shareholders. In addition, the Global Forum deemed it important that rules be implemented to guarantee the accuracy of information provided to the Registrar of Companies when registering a new business entity, particularly one with non-resident directors. The New Zealand government is currently investigating legislative changes which could address the raised issues, and any changes will be assess by the Forum during New Zealand’s next peer review.

Photo by Dave Dugdale