The key word for the 13th edition of the Latin America guide is transparency, as countries across the region, spurred by numerous international initiatives, begin to collect and share more information than ever before.
Unsurprisingly, the OECD's Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) Project also features heavily in the pages of this guide. While only Mexico and Chile are full members of the OECD, Costa Rica is in the process of becoming a member, several other countries in this guide are associated with the organisation in some way, and more still are following many of the BEPS Project's recommendations.
Seismic events are occurring in Brazil following the impeachment of former president Dilma Rousseff and the rise to power of Michel Temer and his party. There is a major tax amnesty underway, which represents the most significant foray into transparency measures to date for the southern hemisphere's largest economy, and will provide an opportunity for the tax authorities to make use of improving technology.
Brazil is also a key partner of the OECD and is moving quickly to implement some elements of BEPS. In addition to expanding its information exchange network and bringing in measures regarding the disclosure of ultimate ownership, it is reforming the Administrative Tax Appellate Court and bringing in powerful anti-corruption legislation, forcing companies to focus less on tax planning and more on tax compliance.
Perhaps the biggest tax story of the year was the release of the 'Panama Papers'. However, as argued on pages 7 and 8, the 'British Virgin Islands Papers' may have been a more accurate name. Panama has been bringing its legal framework into line with international standards, and has been praised by the Financial Action Task Force for the progress it has made. It will also be implementing the common reporting standard bilaterally by 2018.
Chile is coming to terms with its second tax reform in four years, leaving plenty of work for advisers there, while transfer pricing professionals in Mexico have been kept busy filing for around 700 maquiladora APAs, for which a new fast-track methodology, the requirements of which are examined in the Mexican section of this guide's TP Focus, has been proposed.
I hope you enjoy the important content this year's guide has to offer.
International Tax Review