OECD: Peer Review Report on Transparency and EOI in Thailand

On 8 November 2023 the Global Forum published a peer review report on Thailand’s implementation of the standard on transparency and exchange of information. Thailand joined the Global Forum in 2017 and made efforts to establish the necessary legal and regulatory framework to comply with the standard on transparency and exchange of information (EOI). The Global Forum has conducted the first peer review and Thailand has been rated overall “Largely Compliant” with the standard.

A comprehensive legal and regulatory framework has been put in place to make sure that legal and beneficial ownership, accounting and banking information is available in line with the standard. Some remaining gaps were identified during the peer review, such as a lack of sufficient supervision and enforcement to ensure the practical implementation of the relevant legal framework.

The report recommends that Thailand should strengthen its supervision and enforcement actions for companies and partnerships so that legal ownership and accounting information is available in line with the standard. This is required because a large number of companies are failing to complete the filing of a list of shareholders with the registrar. Also, persons other than financial institutions who are subject to the anti-money laundering (AML) rules should be supervised to ensure that beneficial ownership information is available to their customers. The report notes that supervisory action should also be taken to ensure that no bearer shares are issued in Thailand.

In the case of foreign trusts, the retention of reliable accounting records is not ensured. Also, there is no retention period for the accounts of public companies that cease to exist. In the case of these entities and arrangements, the report recommends that action should be taken to ensure the availability of reliable accounting records.

The peer review report notes that Thailand has a wide network of EOI relationships and organisational processes and resources in place; and Thailand received 91 requests for information in the period from 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2022. In the same period 13 requests for information were sent. However, Thailand failed to provide the requested information in some EOI cases and there were delays in replying to requests for information.

New legislation came into force in 2023 giving the tax authority full access powers to obtain the information requested from treaty partner countries. As it is not yet clear how effective the legislation will be, the report recommends that Thailand should carefully monitor its implementation. Also, the report notes that the scope of legal professional privilege is currently too wide and should be aligned more closely to the standard.

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