Govt. targets tax evasion

22 January 2019

The Government is zeroing in on tax evasion. That’s why several government agencies working together towards combating tax evasion in Samoa, gathered at the Ministry for Revenue’s Conference Room last week.

Their goal was to review Samoa’s legal framework and the practical implementation of legal requirements relevant to the exchange of information for tax purposes.

“As part of combating tax evasion, all country members of the Global Forum on Tax Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes (“Global Forum”), a subgroup of the overarching international organization OECD in which Samoa is a member, are required to adhere to international standards for the purpose of tax transparency,” a statement from the Ministry of Revenue said.

“One of these standards is the Standard for Exchange of Information on Request (“EOIR Standard”).”

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“This Standard requires Global Forum members such as Samoa, to ensure their domestic legislation, processes and practice are in line with the Terms of Reference 2016 which looks at: availability of information (beneficial ownership, accounting records and banking information); access to information; and exchange of information (mechanisms in place; network of exchange of information; confidentiality; rights and safeguards of taxpayers and third parties; and effective exchange of information).”

“The latest rounds of review Samoa had for the EOI Standard was in 2015 in which Samoa was rated Partially Compliant.”  

The relevant agencies consisted of representatives from the Ministry for Revenue who is also the Competent Authority for tax matters in Samoa; Samoa International Finance Authority; Ministry for Commerce Industry and Labour; Office of the Attorney General; Central Bank of Samoa as well as the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Trade. 

Certain members of the private sector also participated such as selected representatives from some Trustee Companies, Law Society and the Institute of Accountants. 

It is anticipated that the report for last week’s review will be ready by June 2019 and tabled for discussion by Samoa’s peer countries in the Peer Review Group meeting in September 2019. 

“The hope is that Samoa’s rating will progress to a satisfactory rating such as Largely Compliant or Compliant.”

“The intense three day Review was facilitated by the Competent Authority for Tax Purposes, the Ministry for Revenue with the support of SIFA.” 

22 January 2019

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