Court Decision Eliminates Bank Secrecy

One year after the suspension of taxpayers' access to bank information for tax purposes, the Guatemalan Constitutional Court ruled definitively and revoked the suspension.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

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.

Manuel Mejicanos, legal intendant of the Superintendency of Tax Administration (SAT), told Prensalibre.com that "... they are "pleased" by the ruling of the CC and the action of partial general unconstitutionality of article 30 "C" of the Tax Code, which in a few words will allow the tax investigation cases to be taken up again by the unit in charge."

Óscar Chile Monroy, tax consultant, specified that "... the SAT will not only be able to acquire banking information, but also the type of operations that taxpayers have such as bank loans, security boxes or even if a person is a guarantor for a credit, since the law is broad to provide the powers to the SAT."

The issue of the suspension of access to banking information was the subject of controversy during the last few months, since at the beginning of May, during the IMF visit, the organization also pronounced itself, affirming that the current situation, in addition to weakening the collection, could undermine Guatemala's compliance with international transparency treaties.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) also decided to include Guatemala in the list of countries that do not comply with their commitments regarding fiscal information, arguing that it does not comply with the standards on transparency and exchange of information for tax purposes.

SAT will be able to access taxpayer information when the ruling becomes effective and is published in the Diario de Centro América.

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More on this topic

Removal of Bank Secrecy Applies

November 2019

Since November 26, the Guatemalan authorities have the power to access taxpayers' bank information for tax purposes, so they can now corroborate that the bank income of companies coincide with the payment of their taxes.

After the resolution of the Constitutional Court was published in the Diario de Centroamérica on November 25, in which the appeal of unconstitutionality filed by Escalas Mercantiles S.A., which was intended to prevent the authorities from having access to the banking information of companies and individuals, the law that empowers the Superintendence of Tax Administration (SAT) to investigate taxpayers has come into effect.

Bank Secrecy: What Concerns Businessmen?

September 2019

As a result of the elimination of banking secrecy in Guatemala, the business sector announces that it will be alert to "respect due process and the confidentiality of taxpayers.

One year after having suspended access to taxpayers' bank information for fiscal purposes, at the beginning of August the Constitutional Court ruled definitively and revoked the suspension, so that in the coming weeks the changes will begin to apply.

Bank Secrecy: Can the Court's Decision Be Reversed?

August 2019

Experts and authorities believe that the ruling by the Guatemalan Constitutional Court revoking the suspension preventing access to taxpayers' bank information for fiscal purposes could be reversed with another legal action.

In recent days, the issue has become more relevant in the country, because after a year of being suspended access to banking information for tax purposes, on August 6 the Constitutional Court finally ruled, authorizing the Superintendence of Tax Administration (SAT) to review the accounts of taxpayers.

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.

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