MANILA,Philippines (Xinhua) — The Philippine government defended its tax standards after it was named among the four as " uncooperative tax havens" at the G-20 meeting in London, local media reported.
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) blacklisted the Philippines, Costa Rica, Uruguay and the Malaysian territory of Labuan as worst offenders to rules on financial openness.
"Our government has a strong record of compliance with international financial and government standards, and we are working diligently to ensure that our reform agenda meets the needs for the enhancement of our own tax code and these revisions are consistent with appropriate international standards," the official Philippine News Agency said, quoting Press Secretary Cerge Remonde.
OECD and non-OECD countries developed the standard that was endorsed by G-20 finance ministers in 2004 and a UN committee on tax matters in October 2008, the Philippine Star reported. The standard requires exchange of information on request in all tax matters and enforcement of domestic tax law without regard to domestic tax interest requirement or bank secrecy.
Remonde said it is "unfortunate" that the Philippines has not been able to meet the timetable for review and implementation of the revised tax information standards, but the government is committed and confident to meet the requirements in order to be removed from the list.
The Philippine News Agency also quoted central bank assistant governor Juan de Zuniga as saying that the existing laws are sufficient to guarantee that the country does not become a "haven" for foreigners to deposit their money to avoid taxes in their respective countries, citing the passage of Anti-Money Laundering Act in 2001 which "was accepted as meeting international standards. "
Juan de Zuniga said the anti-money laundering law should be enough to weed out, among others, tax cheats that may be using the Philippine banks to escape taxes.
Now if you have tried to open a bank account in the Philippines without the relevant information and in some cases requirements of ACR (Alien Certificate Registration) aswell as utility bills and other paperwork all of which was kindly introduced to stop money laundering and has made opening a simple bank account more hassle than it needs to be then I don’t see the reason for the Philippines being blacklisted. Bearing in mind the way rural banks were disappearing I wouldn’t be stashing millions here unless it was in an international bank which would no doubt be traceable. To open a small bank account though even without 100% of the documentation you should talk to the bank manager (only) everyone else has to follow tight banking guidelines. The manager can assess you on a personal basis.