End of Banking Secrecy in Tax Matters?

Costa Rica will make modifications in its legal system to avoid the penalties proposed by the G20 for countries that do not exchange information on taxes.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Finance Minister Guillermo Zúñiga agreed that the issue of transparency in tax matters and the international exchange of tax information, although it was raised for years, was recently priorized due to the recent decision by the G20 to recommend sanctions against countries that do not cooperate in this regard.

Opinions were issued from the Chamber of Banking and Financial Institutions that warn about the sensitivity of the topic, which could lead to customers closing their accounts.

According to María Siu Lanzas in an article in Prensalibre.co.cr, Minister Zúñiga reiterated that "currently, the tax administration can only open accounts with the permission of a judge, so the possibility of lifting bank secrecy for tax purposes becomes a very valuable tool in the fight against tax fraud."

More on this topic

Fiscal Transparency Project in Costa Rica

April 2010

Pressured by OECD, the Government of Costa Rica is taking steps to update its regulations in order to comply with international standards.

A bill presented in the legislative introduces changes to enable tax information sharing with other nations.

“With the reform, tax authorities may demand information on economic transactions from more entities, not just banks”, reported Univision.com.

Guatemala To Sign its First Double Taxation Treaty

January 2012

In January, the first Convention of Tax Information Exchange could be signed with Australia.

In order for this convention, and others are under negotiation, to be implemented, Congress needs to approve the banking secrecy law, which would allow access to accounts relating to tax matters, a requirement of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Costa Rica Ratifies Agreement on Fiscal Transparency

April 2013

The agreement includes the exchange of information on request, automatic exchange, simultaneous tax examinations and assistance in the collection of tax debts.

Costa Rica has deposited its instrument of ratification of the Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in the field of taxation, the broadest multilateral agreement ever regarding tax cooperation and information exchange.

Guatemala Wants Out of OECD’s Grey-List

April 2010

The country has exchanged texts with seven countries to sign double taxation agreements.

Additionally, the Public Finances Ministry has invited Pascal Saint-Amans, head of the Tax Transparency Forum at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), to visit the country.

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