Seychelles signs Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters
Minister Jean-Paul Adam has signed the Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters on Tuesday 24th February at a bilateral consultation meeting with the OECD Secretariat at the OECD Headquarters in Paris.?
Following the signing, the Minister highlighted that the signature of this Convention was a critical step in redefining the direction of the financial services sector in Seychelles:
Seychelles is emphasising once again today through this signature, that we are serious about our commitment to best practices relating to tax transparency and engagement with our partners. Our membership of this agreement will strengthen the ability of the Seychelles Revenue Commission and other Seychellois authorities to provide a more complete and fairer reflection of Seychelles? position in relation to international best practices in terms of tax transparency.
The signing was welcomed by Pascal St Amans, Director of the Centre for Tax Transparency on behalf of the OECD as a tangible signal of Seychelles? strong engagement on these issues, citing it as “a great step towards transparency.”
In their discussions in Paris, Minister Adam and Mr. St Amans reaffirmed the programme of action agreed by Seychelles and the OECD towards addressing the issues that led to Seychelles being rated non-compliant by the OECD Global Forum on Tax Transparency in 2013.
The Minister took the opportunity to review legislative changes already made by Seychelles as well as the ongoing review being undertaken in Seychelles on how best to restructure the financial services sector. The Minister also underlined the importance of ongoing capacity building both in terms of the regulation of the sector and in terms of the private sector operators within the sector.
The Convention is a multilateral agreement, developed jointly by the OECD and the Council of Europe in 1988, to promote international co-operation for a better operation of national tax laws and has the ultimate goal of combating tax avoidance and evasion.
The Convention is in line with the international standard on exchange of information and is open for signature to all countries. 84 countries so far have signed the Convention with Seychelles being the 85th signatory. This represents a wide range of countries including all G20 countries, all BRIICS, almost all OECD countries, major financial centres and a growing number of developing countries.
Building appropriate treaty networks is a key aspect of implementing the international standard. However, building treaty networks on a bilateral basis can be time consuming, resource-intensive and expensive particularly for smaller jurisdictions like Seychelles. The Convention thus, can be a means for Seychelles to quickly establish and expand the treaty networks and compliment the exchange of information that Seychelles already has in place on a bilateral basis through its network of Tax Information Exchange Agreements (TIEAs). It should be noted that to foster exchange of information Seychelles had already adopted an exchange of information clause as part of its Double Taxation Avoidance agreements since the 1990s.