Financial transparency: Tunisia takes a crucial step


On Saturday, February 10, 2024, under the leadership of Prime Minister Ahmed Hachani, the Tunisian government took a notable step towards improving global financial and fiscal transparency by adopting a draft organic law for Tunisia’s accession to the multilateral deal on the automatic exchange of financial account information. This action aligns with Tunisia’s commitment, made in early 2022, to enforce the Standard for Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information in Tax Matters (EAR) within the year, marking a key effort in the global fight against tax evasion and fraud.

By engaging in the automatic exchange of information, Tunisia places itself to obtain detailed data on financial assets held by Tunisian citizens in foreign countries without the necessity for prior requests. This advancement is supported by the support and guidance from the Secretariat of the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes, alongside the expertise garnered via a pilot project aimed at reducing the standard’s implementation process.

The standard, developed at the behest of G20 leaders and approved by the OECD Council on July 15, 2014, requires jurisdictions to collect information from their financial institutions and share it annually with other jurisdictions, thereby curbing the potential for cross-border tax avoidance. It summarises the sorts of financial account information to be exchanged, the reporting obligations of financial institutions, the accounts and taxpayers covered, and the due diligence procedures to be adhered to by these institutions.

The initiative arises from a recognition of the need for international cooperation in tax matters, emphasised by the financial crisis and offshore tax evasion scandals of 2008. This realization led to a change towards the automatic exchange of information as a more effective measure against tax havens, a goal articulated by the G20 in 2009. The OECD’s Common Reporting Standard (CRS), inspired by the United States’ Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) introduced in 2010, represents a global response to this challenge, advocating for a comprehensive approach to tackling tax evasion.


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