OECD: Peer Review Report on Tax Transparency and EOI in Serbia

On 8 November 2023 the OECD’s Global Forum published the second-round peer review report on Serbia’s implementation of the standard on transparency and exchange of information (EOI). The report assesses the legal and regulatory framework at 4 August 2023 and the practical implementation of the framework from 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2022. Serbia’s implementation of the EOIR standard was given an overall rating of “Largely Compliant”.

The report recommends that Serbia should ensure that adequate and up to date information is available on legal ownership and identity for all foreign companies with a sufficient nexus with Serbia and relevant foreign partnerships.

The report notes that although there is a legal requirement to update information held with the Register of Beneficial Owners when there are changes in the information and in situations involving customer due diligence, there is no specified frequency for updating the information. Accurate information may therefore not always be available in line with the standard for all relevant entities and arrangements. The report therefore recommends that effective supervision should be in place to ensure that the information kept in the Register is accurate.

In May 2021 the tax administration established an independent unit for dealing with the exchange of information, with adequate staffing and resources to deal with information requests promptly. Serbia responded to all the 123 information requests received during the period under review. Serbia also sent 64 requests for information during the review period.

The report also recommends that Serbia should introduce appropriate exceptions to the prior notification of persons affected by a request for exchange of information. The exceptions could apply in urgent cases or in cases where prior notification could undermine the chances of success of an investigation being conducted by the jurisdiction requesting the information. This would bring Serbia’s practice in line with the requirements of the standard.

Since setting up the EOI unit Serbia has begun sending status updates. The report also recommends that Serbia should monitor the situation on status updates where a full response to an information request cannot be sent within 90 days. A status update should be given to the requesting country even if a partial response has been given.



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