MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines has been removed from the world list of havens for tax evasion and money laundering by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
The country’s removal from the “grey list” of tax havens is expected to boost investments from OECD member countries. The OECD is composed mostly of rich countries in Europe and other members of the Group 20 like the United States, Canada, Japan, Australia, Brazil, and Argentina.
Malacañang was elated by the delisting of the country from the world's list of tax havens and expects this to strengthen the government's campaign against tax evasion and money laundering.
Deputy Presidential Spokeswoman Abigail Valte said this latest feat was achieved following the Aquino administration’s issuance of guidelines implementing a law that mandates the sharing of tax information.
Likewise, the Department of Finance (DoF) lauded the OECD decision to take off the Philippines on the list of non-cooperative tax havens.
Finance Undersecretary Gil S. Beltran said the decision of OECD, a grouping of industrialized countries, should help foreign investment in the Philippines.
“We are pleased that the OECD is recognizing the efforts we have made to come out with a law that allows them access to our tax data,” Beltran said.
In April last year, the OECD placed the Philippines, Malaysia, Costa Rica, and Uruguay on the list of countries failing to comply with agreed international tax standards. The country landed in the blacklist of non-cooperative tax havens for refusal to adopt new rules on financial openness.
Valte said lawmakers who worked for the passage of Republic Act No. 10021 or the Exchange of Information on Tax Matters Act as well as the Aquino administration that crafted its implementing guidelines should be credited for the country’s “white list” upgrade.
With the transfer of the Philippines to the so-called “white list” states, only 11 remained in the OECD blacklist, including Uruguay, Panama, and Liberia.
Valte noted that RA 10021, which allows the tax chief to look into bank deposits and share information with foreign counterparts, was passed by Congress last February.
“But the implementing rules and regulations were only released this month,” she said, adding finance authorities have pushed for law’s implementing guidelines.
Revenue officials said the removal of the Philippines from the list of countries with dubious international tax standards was mainly due to tax treaties entered into by the Philippines with 34 countries including the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Japan and other countries in Asia and Latin America.
To be removed from the OECD blacklist, revenue officials said a country must have at least signed exchange of information accord with at least 12 countries.
Among others, such agreement provides for mutual exchange of information on each other citizens and companies on all transactions, sales and extent of business operations.
Despite the passage of RA 10021 to comply with internationally agreed tax standards, the government has assured that they will consider other laws that forbid examination of bank deposits by any party without the consent of depositor or a court order.