Abu Dhabi UAE: The Ministry of Finance (MoF) recently hosted a delegation from the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes at its headquarters in Abu Dhabi during their field visit to the country from 28 to 31 January. The visit, which included several meetings with stakeholders in the UAE, is part of the second evaluation session of the nation and its private sector on transparency and exchange of information for tax purposes.
The meeting was attended by representatives from the Ministry of Economy, the UAE Central Bank, the Federal Tax Authority, the General Authority for Islamic Affairs and Endowments, the Department of Economic Development - Abu Dhabi, the Department of Economic Development – Dubai, Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), Jebel Ali Free Zone, Dubai Multi Commodities Centre, Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone Authority, Ras Al Khaimah International Centre, as well as other relevant ministries.
H.E. Younis Haji Al Khoori, Undersecretary of MoF, welcomed the visiting delegation and reaffirmed the ministry’s commitment to fulfil the duties entrusted to it by the cabinet decision No. 17of 2012. The decision granted MoF the authority to collect and exchange information and data related to professionals licensed to work In the UAE - including free zones - as part of the nation’s obligations under the tax agreements.
H.E. said: “The Ministry of Finance coordinates with all relevant federal and local entities to determine the type and nature of the information and data required for collection, the framework under which it can be collected, as well as the means of cooperating with the ministry in order to fulfil the requirements of this resolution.”
H.E. said: “The UAE’s adherence to all legislation and laws relating to the exchange of information for tax purposes, strengthens the country’s position in various global competitiveness indices. It also highlights the excellence of the nation’s financial system, which is transparent and adopts the highest standards of governance - factors that are a major draw for foreign investors.”
H.E. added: “The UAE has signed 115 agreements on the avoidance of double taxation, which provide for the exchange of information as per Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) standards, 8 agreements for the exchange of information for tax purposes, as well as the Multilateral Framework Agreement (MAC). MoF has also signed a further 14 Memorandums of Understanding on the exchange of information for tax purposes with relevant UAE entities."
The delegation of the secretariat of the Global Forum for Transparency and Information Exchange met with the concerned authorities, and reviewed the mechanisms of information exchange for tax purposes with MoF. Additionally, the UAE Central Bank made a presentation on the new laws at the meeting, while the Federal Tax Authority presented on the Commission for Islamic Affairs and Endowments and explained the establishment and management of Waqf.
Furthermore, the Ministry of Economy and Free Zones and the economic development departments in Abu Dhabi and Dubai reviewed the laws and legislations for the registration of companies, provided statistics on the number of companies registered with them, and explained the methodology of registering and monitoring companies. DIFC and ADGM provided an overview of their organisations, an explanation of the requirements for providing information, as well as their corporate governance mechanisms.
The UAE joined the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes, as per the Ministerial Council for Services Resolution No. (4/454/خ of 2010. This relates to the mandatory approval from the Ministry of Finance to ensure the implementation of the G20 decision on the exchange of information and approval of its participation and accession to the OECD committees on the exchange of information. Additionally, it outlines the authorisation to coordinate with the local departments to collect financial information on foreign companies operating within the country.
The delegation's visit is part of the second evaluation session of the nation on transparency and exchange of information for tax purposes. The evaluation began in September 2018 following the forum’s survey, in which the country was evaluated in accordance with the new terms of reference for 2016. This includes the provision of information on the final beneficiary, provided that the legal framework and the actual exchange of information in this assessment are evaluated in accordance with the terms of reference 2016. Following the visit, the first draft of the Nation’s Report will be prepared and the final outcome will be announced during the meeting of the Peer Review Group of the Global Forum on Transparency and Information Exchange in September 2019.
The G20 has mandated the OECD to follow up on the implementation of the resolutions on transparency and exchange of information for tax purposes. Known as the Global Forum for Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes, it has 154 member states to date. The UAE joined the forum and its committees following the cabinet decision issued in 2010.
The forum regularly assesses member states to ensure compliance with the agreed criteria on the exchange of information for tax purposes, in accordance with the terms of reference established by the forum in 2010, and since updated in 2016 to comply with international requirements. The new terms of reference include the requirements of the final beneficiary and owner.
© Press Release 2019