Economy January 29, 2015 | 4:00 pm

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Dominican Republic must soon ease banking secret, Taxman warns

Santo Domingo.- Internal Taxes Agency director Guarocuya Felix on Thursday warned that Dominican Republic must soon dismantle the barriers which limit the automatic access to information of the financial sector’s taxpayers, because despite the Arbitration Court resolution to break banking secrecy when the tax administration so requires, the information doesn’t flow as expeditiously as the fiscal authorities demand.

He said for banking secrecy doesn’t exist fiscal administrations, but only receive deferred information case-by-case, with the intermediation of the Banks Superintendence, and cautions that greater coordination with the monetary authorities will be needed in that aspect.

The official said the country is part of international agreements such as the tax compliance law on accounts outside the US (FATCA); and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Center for Development (OECD), among other commitments related to taxation.

Felix said the country, as part of OECD’s Global Forum on Transparency and Taxation, the availability of bank information must be accessible in the country for local authorities.

Felix, speaking before the National Young Entrepreneurs Association (ANJE) at a hotel in Santo Domingo with the participation of economists also as panelists, reiterated the country’s need to improve access to information.

Quoted by, Felix said the country signed an agreement to be included in the FATCA before the end of last year, but has been postponed because it must first be evaluated to see if it can qualify. He said he plans to visit US tax authorities before March 31, to assess the country.

Locally, Felix noted, the Monetary and Financial Law provides banking secrecy to protect the privacy of data on bank account holders, while allowing the tax administration to obtain that information, prior to Banks Superintendence authorization, which delays the process as required, so when the information arrives it’s no longer priority for cases being tracked, such as money laundering or other illegal operations, a problem he cautions can lead to the closing of bank accounts.

Felix quipped however that regarding bank secrecy, “no one has to die because the world will not end,” adding that it only requires establishing which reform should be enacted on the exchange of information, and modify some provisions of the Money Laundering Law and the Multilateral Agreement.

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