Banking Confidentiality and International Perception
Wednesday, June 19, 2019
In its next evaluation, the OECD could lower Guatemala's rating, because in August last year access to bank information with a court order was suspended, which could lead to an increase in the credit price.
In August 2018, the article of the law that in Guatemala facilitated access to banking information of companies with a court order at the request of the tax authorities was temporarily suspended.

For Guatemalan authorities, this factor could affect the next assessment by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), whose report will be presented at the end of the month or in July.

For Victor Manuel Martinez, Finance Minister, "... There is serious concern about the country's qualification for international commitments, and that is because of the suspension of the Constitutional Court (CC) to no longer access bank information directly from taxpayers for tax purposes."

You may be interested in "Banking Secrecy: Controversy Comes Back

Juan Carlos Zapata, executive director of Fundesa, explained to that "... the country is in danger of diminishing a degree of qualification with the OECD and that this would have repercussions in the economy, but above all in the financial sector that attends to foreign trade (imports and exports). Guatemala has an OECD rating of four, but in this next evaluation, because of the banking secrecy factor, it could reach five, which would mean increasing the cost of credits or lines of credit (letters) for commercial exchange."

The issue of banking secrecy in the country resurfaced weeks ago, because after the last visit of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to Guatemala, the international organization warned that reversing the decrease in tax collection means strengthening the control of large taxpayers, improving the use of tax information to reduce non-compliance, reallocating resources to risk-based audits, and reconsidering the lifting of banking secrecy for tax audit purposes.

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More on this topic
Court Decision Eliminates Bank Secrecy
August 2019
One year after the suspension of taxpayers' access to bank information for tax purposes, the Guatemalan Constitutional Court ruled definitively and revoked the suspension.
The issue had been on hold since August 2018, when the country's
highest court temporarily suspended the article of the law that in Guatemala granted companies access to banking information
with a court order at the request of the tax authorities.
Tax Information: Pending Matter Involved in Controversy
August 2019
Arguing that it does not comply with the standards on transparency and exchange of information for tax purposes, the OECD evaluated Guatemala negatively and recommended working on direct access to taxpayers' banking information.
As planned, following the temporary suspension by the Constitutional Court (CC) of the article of law facilitating access to taxpayers' bank information, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) decided to include Guatemala in the list of countries that do not comply with their fiscal information commitments.
Guatemala: Removal of Bank Secrecy Urged
November 2013
The president of the central bank said that this would prevent Guatemala from being regarded internationally as a tax haven.
This was explained by Edgar Barquín, president of the Bank of Guatemala (Banguat). He added that approval next year in the U.S. of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (Facta) will be incompatible with Guatemala where there is no law to release bank secrecy.
Bank Secrecy Act in Guatemala
November 2012
The government wants to make progress in meeting OECD requirements in order to bring the country out of the list of "gray" countries regarding tax information exchange.
An article in reports that Pavel Centeno, finance minister, said that "Guatemala has not advanced in the work to meet all the demands of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), since one of the points pending is the opening of bank secrecy for tax issues, it risks staying on the gray list of non transparent countries. "
Key entities
Gutemala Development Foundation Víctor Manuel Martínez Ministerio de Finanzas Públicas (Guatemala) Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development
Banking Finance
banking sector
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