OECD releases beneficial ownership toolkit

On 20 March 2019, the first beneficial ownership toolkit (Link) was released in the context of the OECD’s Global Integrity and Anti-Corruption Forum (Link).

The toolkit, prepared by the Secretariat of the OECD’s Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes in partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank, is intended to help governments implement the Global Forum’s standards on ensuring that law enforcement officials have access to reliable information on who the ultimate beneficial owners are behind a company or other legal entity so that criminals can no longer hide their illicit activities behind opaque legal structures.

The toolkit covers a variety of important issues regarding beneficial ownership, including:

  • the concepts of beneficial owners and ownership, the criteria used to identify them, the importance of the matter for transparency in the financial and non-financial sectors;
  • technical aspects of beneficial ownership requirements, distinguishing between legal persons and legal arrangements (such as trusts), and measures being taken internationally to ensure the availability of information on beneficial ownership a series of checklists that may be useful in pursuing a specific beneficial ownership framework;
  • ways in which the principles on beneficial ownership can play out in practice in Global Forum EOIR peer reviews;
  • why beneficial ownership information is also a crucial component of the automatic exchange of information regimes being adopted by jurisdictions around the world.

The Toolkit is the first practical guide freely available for countries implementing the international tax transparency standards. It will be frequently updated to incorporate new lessons learned from the second-round peer reviews conducted by the Global Forum, as well as best practices seen and developed by supporting organisations.

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