Thursday, October 29, 2020

Botswana blacklisted for possible tax border cheating

Botswana has been included in the list of countries that have been blacklisted for possible cross border tax cheating. The country is also among nation cited for a lack of cooperation on tax data.

Botswana was named among countries that were singled out in the latest report by the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) as one of the “laggards in making progress toward meeting new global standards for tax data exchange”.

Botswana was also named among the 14 countries as failing to meet the OECD’s Phase 2 standard of international information exchange, according to the report by the OECD, which promotes cooperation among developed nations.

The other countries on the OECD’s list were Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, Panama, Brunei, Dominica, Guatemala, Lebanon, Liberia, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Trinidad and Tobago and Vanuatu.

The Group-of 20 advanced and emerging economies issued communiqu├® at the semi-annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank urging Botswana and other 13 countries to comply.
The countries, though not members of the G-20 countries, according to the report, have not made the necessary legal and regulatory changes to be removed from the list, according to the O.E.C.D. report.

Contacted for comment, Minister of Finance and Development planning, Kenneth Matambo, said he was not aware of the report.

“I have not seen that report. I’m on leave now but you can check with those at the Ministry’s offices,” he said.

Reports indicate that tax evasion has dominated European headlines in recent weeks, following the admission by a disgraced and ousted French budget minister, J├®r├┤me Cahuzac, that he was “squirreling money away in a Swiss account and the recent leak of thousands of holders of secret bank accounts worldwide”.

According to media reports, in the latest American salvo, two Swiss men ÔÇö Stefan Buck, a member of the executive board of the Zurich lender Bank Frey, and Edgar Paltzer, a partner at a Swiss law firm ÔÇö were indicted recently in New York on conspiracy charges.

Media reports also indicate that finance ministers and central bankers of the G-20, meeting in Washington, said in a communiqu├® that automatic exchange of tax-relevant bank information should be adopted as the global standard.

The officials also noted the problems of economic weakness and high unemployment in many countries, and called for more action “to make growth strong, sustainable and The automatic exchange of tax data, an approach the United States has pushed, would represent a major change from the current procedures, in which countries are expected to provide such information only on request ÔÇö as when tax officials seek to track payments across national borders during an audit.

Under an automatic exchange, governments would routinely transfer all foreign taxpayers’ data to their home governments, making it far more difficult to hide assets from the tax collector.

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