Argentina Seeks Access to Financial Information on Nationals

by Morgan Lewis
Contact

Argentina signs the OECD Convention, but it does not obtain automatic access to financial information.

On September 13, 2012, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) announced that Argentina became the first South American nation to become a party to the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters (the Convention).[1] The Convention seeks to facilitate administrative cooperation between signatories in the assessment and collection of taxes and to assist nations with the prevention and prosecution of tax evasion.

The Convention was developed jointly by the Council of Europe (Council) and the OECD and opened for signature by the member states of both organizations in 1988, with the United States becoming a signatory in 1989. The Convention was later amended and opened for signature by all countries (known as States) beginning in June 2011. The amended Convention provides a framework for developing countries to coordinate with a large number of States in the sharing of information and assistance regarding administrative tax matters while protecting the legitimate interests of taxpayers, including protecting against double taxation and discriminatory taxes.[2] The Convention does not require an automatic flow of taxpayer information be provided by each State, but it does encourage States to provide information to each other where there is a legitimate tax reason and where a State believes it to be lawful and appropriate under the terms of the Convention as adopted by each signatory.

As of March 11, 2013, the OECD reports that Mexico signed the Convention in 2010; Argentina and Brazil signed in 2011; and Costa Rica, Colombia, and Guatemala signed in 2012. Of these States, the Convention has only entered into force in Argentina and Mexico, with effectiveness in Argentina as of January 2013. The Convention has been signed by more than 40 States (each signing State is known as a Party), and additional Central and South American countries may follow.[3]

Covered Taxes

Article 2 of the Convention lists the taxes that are covered by the Convention. The list includes taxes at the federal and local levels and a catchall provision for "any other taxes." Each Party has the opportunity to narrow the list of covered taxes that will be applicable to it and to indicate what "other taxes" it shall include as covered taxes. The United States and Argentina both declared certain reservations. However, both States agreed to treat the following, among others, as taxes covered by the Convention: (i) income tax; (ii) estate, inheritance, or gift taxes; (iii) social security contributions; and (iv) sales and value-added taxes. Notably, both the United States and Argentina declined to adopt the Convention's provisions on assisting other States to recover such State's tax claims and/or administrative fines.[4]

Exchange of Information

The Convention includes provisions for the exchange of information (i) upon the request of a Party, (ii) automatically as agreed between Parties, or (iii) spontaneously by one Party to another. The Convention specifically indicates that it covers requests concerning both residents and nationals of a State. Notably, the Convention does not set forth any procedures or details for the automatic exchange of tax information. Instead, it simply states that two or more Parties may agree to the circumstances and procedures under which they will automatically exchange tax information. The OECD has suggested that an administrative agreement between the competent authorities of two Parties could address such issues, highlighting the fact that additional agreements between Parties are still necessary before any automatic exchange of tax information.[5] Thus, while the Convention provides a framework for multilateral cooperation, in most cases, the Convention provides that Parties must still make a request for information to local authorities, as further discussed below.

Information Requests and Denials

A Party requesting information generally must provide identifying information for the person about whom the request is made and indicate if the request for assistance conforms with the laws and administrative practices of the requesting State. A Party may also be required to show that it has pursued all reasonable measures available under its own laws or administrative practices to obtain the requested information, unless such measures would be disproportionately difficult. After a request is made, the Party subject to the request shall obtain the requested information by any methods available under its own laws or administrative practices or provide an explanation for the denial of the request.

The Convention indicates that States may not decline to provide information merely because the information is held by a bank, other financial institution, fiduciary, or nominee or because it relates to ownership interests in an entity. On the other hand, a State subject to a request may decline to provide information where it would be contrary to the State's public policy; the information is not obtainable under its own laws or the laws of the requesting State; or the information would disclose trade, commercial, or professional secrets.

Spontaneous Exchange of Information

The Convention also provides that information shall be provided by one Party to another Party without a request if the first Party has knowledge of any of the following:

a. There may be a loss of tax by the other Party.

b. A person liable to tax obtains a reduction in or an exemption from tax in the first-mentioned Party, which would give rise to an increase in tax or liability to tax in the other Party.

c. Business dealings between a person liable to tax in one Party and a person liable to tax in another Party are conducted through one or more countries in such a way that a saving in tax may result in one Party or in both.

d. A Party has grounds for supposing that a saving of tax may result from artificial transfers of profits within groups of enterprises.

e. Information forwarded to the first-mentioned Party by the other Party has enabled information to be obtained, which may be relevant in assessing liability to tax in the latter Party.

Implications

The Convention has provided Parties with another tool to obtain personal financial information about their citizens and nationals. Nevertheless, many Parties have had bilateral information-sharing agreements and tax treaties in place for decades. While the Convention may expand a State's treaty network and, in some cases, broaden the scope of the information it may obtain, it remains unclear how much additional information, if any, will flow from the United States and other States to Central and South American Parties without setting forth a definitive framework for automatic information sharing.


[1]. View the OECD announcement here.

[2]. The complete text of the amended Convention is available here. A request for ratification of the amended Convention was transmitted by President Barack Obama to the U.S. Senate on May 17, 2012, and subsequently referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations.

[3]. A complete list of signatories, ratification statuses, and effective dates is available here.

[4]. The complete list of declarations and reservations made by each Party is available here.

[5]. OECD's questions and answers on this topic are available at here.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Morgan Lewis | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Morgan Lewis
Contact
more
less

Morgan Lewis on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):
hide

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.

Security

JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at info@jdsupra.com. In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at: info@jdsupra.com.

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.