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Gulf expats
Four more countries commit
‘to stay put’
to OECD tax standards
On 7 April the OECD issued a
statement welcoming recent com-
mitments to the internationally
agreed tax standard on exchange of
Many expats in the Middle East see
information made by Costa Rica,
no reason to leave during this pres-
Malaysia, Philippines and Uruguay.
ent economic crisis, said a survey
These were the four jurisdictions
conducted by, a major
surveyed by the OECD Global
job site in the region.
Forum which had not made com-
The ‘reactions to economic con-
mitments as of 2 April. They have
ditions’ online poll series conduct-
now officially informed the OECD
ed by was designed to
that they commit to co-operate in
EU Commissioner László Kovács, the standard on exchange of infor-
determine the impact of the cur-
the fight against tax abuse, that this
the Secretary General of the OECD mation for tax purposes. The
rent economic situation on
year they will propose legislation to
Angel Gurria said: “We continue to OECD will now work in the frame-
employees. The questions focused
remove the impediments to the
see quick progress in the adoption work of its Committee on Fiscal
on work and finances, and their
implementation of the standard
of the OECD standard. I very much Affairs and the Global Forum with
opinions on the probable length of
and will incorporate the standard
welcome that all jurisdictions sur- all jurisdictions concerned on the
the downturn in their country of
in their existing laws and treaties.
veyed by the OECD Global Forum implementation of these commit-
As a result, they have been moved
are now committed. We need a ments. The organisation is speed-
Approximately 36% of expat
to the category of “jurisdictions
level playing field and are looking ing up the process of concluding
professionals said ‘staying put’ was
that have committed to the inter-
forward to quick implementation and negotiating tax information
the optimum strategy to cope with
nationally agreed tax standard, but
of the standard.” exchange agreements, achieving a
the economic crisis. This percep-
have not yet substantially imple-
The progress report issued by swift and effective implementation,
tion was widely held even though
mented” in the OECD progress
the OECD on 2 April, following the reviewing the OECD Global
the economic situation was recog-
report first issued on 2 April.
G20 London Summit, shows Forum, and engaging developing
nised as especially damaging to
At a joint press conference with
progress in the implementation of countries.
expatriate communities, the survey
The investigation revealed, how-
ever, that 28% believe they may
Americans warn of tax scams
have no choice but to return home
as a result of the current situation.
Some 15% expressed a positive
Doug Shulman commented. come from a reliable or respected
preference to return home.
“There is no secret trick that can source, such as a government
“The economic crisis is having a
eliminate a person’s tax obliga- department or bank.
widespread effect on the Middle
tions. People should be wary of Hiding Income Offshore
East, evidenced by a number of fac-
anyone peddling any of these This is straightforward fraud, and
tors including job losses and turbu-
scams.” the American tax authorities tren-
lent markets. But how it is actually
Tax schemes are against the law chantly pursue taxpayers involved
affecting the people right in the
and can lead to significant penal- in illegal offshore transactions.
heart of the crisis - the profession-
ties, both for those who devise the Some taxpayers have tried to avoid
als and job seekers - is a rarely told
schemes and taxpayers breaking US income tax by hiding income
story,” said Amer Zureikat, the
the law. in offshore banks, with
regional manager for
The IRS has issued official Switzerland deemed to be arguably
“This period of instability is not © Pjcross |
advice on how to deal with various the worst offending country.
only causing tremors among pro-
The US Internal Revenue Service practices. The IRS has also identified ille-
fessionals, but it is also of serious
has issued its 2009 “dirty dozen” Phishing gal offshore schemes including
concern to employers - especially if
list of tax scams. The fraudulent This is a technique used by web- those that involve use of electronic
staff members are intending to
schemes include phishing, hiding based fraudsters to con victims funds transfer and payment sys-
leave the country,” he added.
income offshore and illegitimate into revealing personal or financial tems.
“This kind of data can be very
claims for refunds. information. This can then be Filing False or Misleading Forms
useful for HR professionals and
“Taxpayers should be wary of used to steal the victim’s identity Again, this is clear fraud, and the
industry stakeholders, by serving as
scams to avoid paying taxes that or wrack up credit card debts or American authorities are acutely
a relevant, up-to-date indicator of
seem too good to be true, especial- loans. aware of those who file false
what employees really think of the
ly during these challenging eco- Phishing scams often take the returns or fraudulently obtain
current crisis and how they intend
nomic times,” IRS Commissioner form of an e-mail that appears to refunds.
to deal with it.”
April 2009 Investment International
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