Circular letter on OECD non-compliant jurisdictions and reporting obligations published

Belgian companies and Belgian permanent establishments are, if the threshold of 100,000 EUR is reached, required to report all and any direct or indirect payments made to persons established, and as of 2016 accounts held, in a jurisdiction which is on:

  • the Belgian list of tax havens; or
  • the list of jurisdictions which do not comply with the OECD standard on transparency and the exchange of information for tax purposes (the “OECD” list).

On 11 March 2016 a new decree was published on countries which do not levy an income tax or have a low tax rate and, since the end of 2015, there were no jurisdictions listed on the OECD list.

Meanwhile, largely due to the Panama papers in July 2016 (see Belgium-1, News 14 June 2016), the scope of the OECD list has changed from generally non-compliant to non-compliant in respect of the exchange of information upon request.

Hence, as a result of the conclusions reached at the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes Peer Reviews of 4 November 2016, a circular letter was issued on 26 January 2017, listing the following countries as non-compliant:

  • Guatemala
  • Marshall Islands
  • Micronesia (the federal states of)
  • Panama
  • Trinidad and Tobago

The circular letter specifies that the reporting obligation applies to payments made as of 4 November 2016.

However, for Micronesia which has been on the list of tax havens since 2010, the reporting obligation applies since 2010. For the Marshall Islands, which entered on the list of tax havens in March 2016, payments made after 1 January 2010 must be reported unless the taxable period terminated before 1 April 2016.

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