Law Approving The Agreement Between The Kingdom Of Belgium And The Commonwealth Of The Bahamas For The Exchange Of Information In Tax Matters, Done At Brussels On December 7, 2009 (1) (2) (3).

Original Language Title: Loi portant assentiment à l'Accord entre le Royaume de Belgique et le Commonwealth des Bahamas en vue de l'échange de renseignements en matière fiscale, fait à Bruxelles le 7 décembre 2009 (1) (2) (3)

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belgiquelex.be - Carrefour Bank of Legislation

26 DECEMBER 2013. - An Act to approve the Agreement between the Kingdom of Belgium and the Commonwealth of the Bahamas for the exchange of tax information, made in Brussels on December 7, 2009 (1) (2) (3)



PHILIPPE, King of the Belgians,
To all, present and to come, Hi.
The Chambers adopted and We sanction the following:
Article 1er. This Act regulates a matter referred to in Article 77 of the Constitution.
Art. 2. The Agreement between the Kingdom of Belgium and the Commonwealth of the Bahamas for the exchange of information in tax matters, made in Brussels on 7 December 2009, will bring out its full and full effect.
Promulgation of this law, let us order that it be clothed with the seal of the State and published by the Belgian Monitor.
Given at Ciergnon, December 26, 2013.
PHILIPPE
By the King:
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs,
D. REYNDERS
Minister of Finance,
K. GEENS
Seal of the state seal:
The Minister of Justice,
Ms. A. TURTELBOOM
____
Notes
(1)Sénat (www.senate.be):
Documents: 5-2122.
Annales du Senate : July 17, 2013, July 18, 2013.
House of Representatives
(www.lachambre.be)
Documents: 53-2977.
Full report: 14 November 2013.
(2) See the decree of the Flemish Community/Flemish Region of 7 June 2013 (Belgian Monitor of 9 July 2013), the decree of the French Community of 4 July 2013 (Belgian Monitor of 23 July 2013), the decree of the German-speaking Community of 24 June 2013 (Belgian Monitor of 25 July 2013), the decree of the Walloon Region of 10 July 2013 (Belgian Monitor of 31 July 2013) and the order of the Region
(3) Effective Date: February 11, 2014.

AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE KINGDOM OF BELGIUM AND THE COMMONWEALTH OF THE BAHAMAS FOR THE EXCHANGE OF INFORMATION RELATING TO TAX MATTERS
THE KINGDOM OF BELGIUM
AND
THE COMMONWEALTH OF THE BAHAMAS,
WHEREAS the Government of the Kingdom of Belgium and the Government of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas (" the Parties") have long been active in international efforts to combat money laundering and other financial crimes, including the targeting of terrorist financing;
AND WHEREAS The Bahamas on 15th March 2002 entered into a political commitment to the OECD's principles of effective exchange of information;
AND WHEREAS the Parties, desiring to facilitate the exchange of information with respect to taxes;
HAVE AGREED as follows:
Article 1
Object and Scope of the Agreement
1. The Parties, through their competent authorities, shall provide assistance through exchange of information that is foreseeably relevant to the administration or enforcement of the domestic laws of the Parties concerning taxes covered by this Agreement, including information that is foreseeably relevant to the determination, assessment, enforcement or collection of tax with respect to persons subject to such taxes or to the investigation or prosecution of tax matters in relation to such persons. Information shall be exchanged in accordance with the provisions of this Agreement and shall be treated as confidential in the manner provided in Article 8.
2. The rights and safeguards secured to persons by the laws or administrative practice of the requested Party remain applicable. The requested Party shall use its best endeavours to ensure that any such rights and safeguards are not applied in a manner that unduly prevents or delays effective exchange of information.
Article 2
Jurisdiction
A requested Party is not obliged to provide information which is neither held by its authorities, nor in the possession of, nor obtainable by persons who are within its territorial jurisdiction.
Article 3
Tax Covered
1. This Agreement shall apply to the existing taxes of every kind and description imposed by or on behalf of the Parties.
2. This Agreement shall apply also to any identical or substantially similar taxes imposed after the date of signature of this Agreement in addition to or in place of the existing taxes if the Parties, through their competent authorities, so agree. The competent authority of each Party shall notify the other of any substantial changes in laws which may affect the obligations of that Party pursuant to this Agreement.
3. This Agreement shall also apply to taxes imposed in Belgium by its political subdivisions or local authorities, from the date on which Belgium shall notify The Bahamas through diplomatic channels that Belgium agrees on such application.
Article 4
Definitions
1. In this Agreement:
a) " The Bahamas " means the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, encompassing the land, the territorial waters, and in accordance with international law and the laws of The Bahamas any area outside the territorial waters inclusive of the exclusive economic zone and the seabed and subsoil over which The Bahamas exercises jurisdiction and sovereign rights for the purpose of exploration, exploitation and conservation of natural resources;
(b) " Belgium" means the Kingdom of Belgium; used in a geographical sense, it means the territory of the Kingdom of Belgium, including the territorial sea and any other area in the sea and in the air within which the Kingdom of Belgium, in accordance with international law, exercises sovereign rights or its jurisdiction;
(c) " collective investment fund or scheme" means any pooled investment vehicle, irrespective of legal form;
(d) " public collective investment fund or scheme " means any collective investment scheme or fund in which the purchase, sale or redemption of shares or other interests is not implicitly or explicitly restricted to a limited group of investors;
e) " company " means any body corporate or any entity that is treated as a body corporate for tax purposes;
(f) " competent authority" means,
(i) in the case of The Bahamas, the Minister of Finance or his duly authorised delegate; and
(ii) in the case of Belgium, the Minister of Finance or his authorised representative;
(g) " criminal laws" means all criminal laws designated as such under domestic law, irrespective of whether such are contained in the tax laws, the criminal code or other statutes;
h) " criminal tax matters " means tax matters involving intentional conduct whether before or after the entry into force of this Agreement which is liable to prosecution under the criminal laws of the requesting Party;
(i) "information" means any fact, statement, document or record in whatever form;
(j) " information gathering measures" means laws and administrative or judicial procedures enabling a requested Party to obtain and provide the information requested;
(k) "national", in relation to a Party, means:
(i) any individual possessing the nationality or citizenship of that Party, and
(ii) any legal person, partnership, association or other entity deriving its status as such from the laws in force in that Party;
(l) " person" means an individual, a company or any other body or group of persons;
m) " principal class of shares" means the class or classes of shares representing a majority of the voting power and value of the company;
n) " publicly traded company " means any company whose principal class of shares is listed on a recognised stock exchange provided its listed shares can be readily purchased or sold by the public. Shares can be purchased or sold " by the public" if the purchase or sale of shares is not implicitly or explicitly restricted to a limited group of investors;
o) " recognised stock exchange" means any stock exchange agreed upon by the competent authorities of the Parties;
p) " requested Party " means the Party to this Agreement which is requested to provide information or has provided information in response to a request;
q) " requesting Party " means the Party to this Agreement submitting a request for or having received information from the requested Party;
r) "tax " means any tax covered by this Agreement.
2. As regards the application of this Agreement at any time by a Party, any term not defined herein shall, unless the context otherwise requires, have the meaning that it has at that time under the law of that Party, any meaning under the applicable tax laws of that Party prevailing over a meaning given to the term under other laws of that Party.
Article 5
Exchange of Information Upon Request
1. The competent authority of the requested Party shall provide upon request by the requesting Party information for the purposes referred to in Article 1. Such information shall be exchanged without regard to whether the requested Party needs such information for its own tax purposes or the conduct being investigated would constitute a crime under the laws of the requested Party if it had occurred in the territory of the requested Party. The competent authority of the requesting Party shall only make a request for information pursuant to this Article when it is unable to obtain the requested information by other means, except where recourse to such means would give rise to disproportionate difficulty.
2. If the information in the possession of the competent authority of the requested Party is not sufficient to enable it to comply with the request for information, the requested Party shall use all appropriate information gathering measures to provide the requesting Party with the information requested, notwithstanding that the requested Party may not need such information for its own tax purposes.
3. If specifically requested by the competent authority of the requesting Party, the competent authority of the requested Party shall provide information under this Article, to the extent allowable under its domestic laws, in the form of depositions of witnesses and authenticated copies of original records.
4. Notwithstanding any contrary provisions in its domestic laws, each Party shall have the authority, subject to the terms of Articles 1 and 2 of this Agreement, to obtain and to provide:
a) information held by banks, other financial institutions, trusts, foundations and any person, including nominees and trustees, acting in an agency or fiduciary capacity;
b) information regarding the ownership of companies, partnerships, collective investment schemes, trusts, foundations and other persons, including information on all persons in an ownership chain, and
(i) in the case of collective investment schemes, information on shares, units and other interests;
(ii) in the case of trusts, information on settlors, trustees, protectors and beneficiaries;
(iii) in the case of foundations, information on founders, members of the foundation council and beneficiaries; and
(iv) in the case of persons that are neither collective investment schemes, trusts or foundations, equivalent information to the information in subparagraphs (i) to (iii).
Provided that this Agreement does not create an obligation on the Parties to obtain or provide ownership information with respect to publicly traded companies or public collective investment funds or schemes unless such information can be obtained without giving rise to disproportionate difficulties.
5. Any request for information shall be formulated with the greatest possible details and shall specify in writing:
a) the identity of the taxpayer under examination or investigation;
(b) the identity of the person in respect of whom information is requested, if that person is not also the taxpayer in subparagraph (a) of this paragraph;
(c) the period for which the information is requested;
(d) the nature of the information requested and the form in which the requesting Party would prefer to receive it;
e) the tax purpose for which the information is sought, including:
(i) the citation of the legal authority under the applicant Party's tax law with respect to which the information is sought; and
(ii) whether the matter is a criminal tax matter;
(f) the reasons for believing that the information requested is foreseeably relevant to the administration or enforcement of the taxes of the requesting Party covered under Article 3, with respect to a person identified in subparagraph (a) of this paragraph;
(g) grounds for believing that the information requested is present in the requested Party or is in the possession of or obtainable by a person within the jurisdiction of the requested Party;
h) to the extent known, the name and address of any person believed to be in possession of, or able to obtain the requested information;
(i) a statement that the request is in conformity with this Agreement;
(j) a statement that the requesting Party has pursued all means available in its own territory to obtain the information, except those that would give rise to disproportionate difficulty.
6. The competent authority of the requested Party shall acknowledge receipt of the request to the competent authority of the requesting Party, advise if there are any unexpected delays in obtaining the requested information and shall use its best endeavours to forward the requested information to the requesting Party with the least reasonable delay.
Article 6
Tax Examinations Abroad
1. The competent authority of the requesting Party may request that the competent authority of the requested Party allows, provided that it is not contrary to domestic laws, representatives of the competent authority of the requesting Party to enter the territory of the requested Party to interview individuals and examine records with the prior written consent of the individuals or other persons concerned. The competent authority of the requesting Party shall give reasonable notice to the competent authority of the requested Party of the time and place of the intended meeting with the individuals concerned.
2. At the request of the competent authority of the requesting Party, the competent authority of the requested Party may allow representatives of the competent authority of the requesting Party to attend a tax examination in the territory of the requested Party.
3. If the request referred to in paragraph 2 is granted, the competent authority of the requested Party conducting the examination shall, as soon as possible, notify the competent authority of the requesting Party of the time and place of the examination, the authority or person authorised to carry out the examination and the procedures and conditions required by the requested Party for the conduct of the examination. All decisions regarding the conduct of the tax examination shall be made by the requested Party conducting the examination.
Article 7
Possibility of Declining a Request
1. The competent authority of the requested Party may decline to assist :
a) where the request is not made in conformity with this Agreement;
b) where the requesting Party has not pursued all means available in its own territory to obtain the information, except where recourse to such means would give rise to disproportionate difficulty; gold
c) where the disclosure of the information requested would be contrary to its national security or public policy.
2. This Agreement shall not impose on a requested Party any obligation to provide information subject to legal privilege or to provide information which would disclose any trade, business, industrial, commercial or professional secret or trade process, provided that information described in Article 5(4) shall not by reason of that fact alone be treated as a secret or trade process.
3. A request for information shall not be refused on the ground that the tax claim giving rise to the request is disputed.
4. The requested Party may decline a request for information if the information is requested by the requesting Party to administer or enforce a provision of the tax law of the requesting Party, or any requirement connected therewith, which discriminates against a national of the requested Party as compared with a national of the requesting Party in the same circumstances.
Article 8
Confidentiality
1. Any information received by a Party under this Agreement shall be treated as confidential and may be disclosed only to persons or authorities (including courts and administrative bodies) in the jurisdiction of the Party concerned with the assessment or collection of, the enforcement or prosecution in respect of, or the determination of appeals in relation to, the taxes covered by this Agreement. Such persons or authorities shall use such information only for such purposes. They may disclose the information in public court proceedings or in judicial decisions. The information may not be disclosed to any other person or entity or authority or any other jurisdiction (including a foreign Government) without the express written consent of the competent authority of the requested Party.
2. Where information provided pursuant to this Agreement for a criminal tax purpose is, subsequently, to be used for a non-criminal tax purpose (and vice versa), the competent authority which supplied the information shall be notified of this change in use, if not before, then within a reasonable time of the change in use occurring.
Article 9
Tax Treatment
Expenses incurred by a resident of a Party with respect to any convention (including any seminar, meeting, congress or other function of a similar nature) held in the other Party shall, for the purposes of taxation in the first-mentioned Party, be deductible to the same extent that such expenses would be deductible if the convention were held in the first-mentioned Party.
Article 10
Costs
Unless the competent authorities of the Parties otherwise agree, indirect costs incurred in providing assistance shall be borne by the requested Party, and direct costs incurred in providing assistance (including costs of engaging external advisers in connection with litigation or otherwise) shall be borne by the requesting Party. The respective competent authorities shall consult from time to time with regard to this Article, and in particular the competent authority of the requested Party shall consult with the competent authority of the requesting Party in advance if the costs of providing information with respect to a specific request are expected to be significant.
Article 11
Mutual Agreement Procedure
1. Where difficulties or doubts arise between the Parties regarding the implementation or interpretation of this Agreement, the competent authorities shall endeavour to resolve the matter by mutual agreement.
2. In addition to the agreements referred to in paragraph 1, the competent authorities of the Parties may mutually agree on the procedures to be used under this Agreement.
3. The competent authorities of the Parties may communicate with each other directly for purposes of reaching agreement under this Article.
4. The Parties may also agree on other forms of dispute resolution.
Article 12
Implementation Legislation
The Parties shall enact any legislation necessary to comply with, and give effect to, the terms of the Agreement.
Article 13
Language
Requests for assistance and answers thereto shall be drawn up in the English language.
Article 14
Entry into Force
Each of the Parties shall notify to the other the completion of the procedures required by its law for the bringing into force of this Agreement. This Agreement shall enter into force on the date of the later of these notifications, and shall have effect for all matters covered in Article 1, in respect of taxable periods beginning on or after January 1 of the year next following the year in which the Agreement entered into force or, where there is no taxable period, in respect of taxes due in respect of taxable events taking place on or after January 1 of the year next following the year in which the Agreement entered into force.
Article 15
Termination
1. Either Party may terminate the Agreement by giving a notice of termination in writing through diplomatic channels.
2. Such termination shall become effective on the first day of the month following the expiration of a period of three months after the date of receipt of notice of termination by the other Party. All requests received up to the effective date of termination will be dealt with in accordance with the terms of this Agreement.
3. A Party that terminates the Agreement shall remain bound by the provisions of Article 8 with respect to any information obtained under this Agreement.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF the undersigned, being duly authorised thereto by their respective Governments, have signed this Agreement.
DONE in duplicate at Brussels, this 7th day of December 2009, in the English language.

AGREEMENT RELATING TO THE BELGIUM ROYAUME AND THE COMMONWEALTH OF BAHAMAS FOR THE CHANGE OF FISCALE INFORMATION
BELGIUM ROYAUME
AND
THE COMMONWEALTH OF BAHAMAS,
Considering that the Government of the Kingdom of Belgium and the Government of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas ("the Parties") have long played an active role in international efforts to combat money-laundering and other financial offences, including combating the financing of terrorism;
And considering that the Bahamas took on 15 March 2002 the political commitment to comply with the OECD principles for the effective exchange of information;
And considering that Parties are willing to facilitate the exchange of tax information,
The following provisions were agreed:
Article 1er
Purpose and scope of the Agreement
1. Parties, through their competent authorities, shall provide assistance through the exchange of information that is likely to be relevant to the administration or application of the domestic legislation of the Parties relating to the taxes covered by this Agreement, including information likely to be relevant to the determination, establishment, application or collection of the tax with respect to persons subject to these taxes or for tax investigations or prosecutions relating to such persons. The information shall be exchanged in accordance with the provisions of this Agreement and shall be treated as confidential in the manner provided for in Article 8.
2. The rights and protections enjoyed by persons under the legislative or regulatory provisions or administrative practices of the requested Party remain applicable. The requested Party shall endeavour to ensure that these rights and protections are not applied in such a way as to unduly impede or delay an effective exchange of information.
Article 2
Jurisdiction
The requested Party does not have an obligation to provide information that is not held by its authorities or in the possession of persons under its territorial jurisdiction, or that cannot be obtained by persons under its territorial jurisdiction.
Article 3
Taxes targeted
1. This Agreement applies to current taxes of any kind or denomination collected by or on behalf of the Parties.
2. This Agreement shall also apply to identical or similar taxes that would be established after the date of signature of this Agreement and that would be added to or replace the existing taxes if the Parties, through their competent authorities, agree. The competent authority of each Party shall notify the other of any substantial amendment to its legislation that may affect the obligations of that Party arising from this Agreement.
3. This Agreement will also apply to taxes collected in Belgium by its political subdivisions or local authorities from the date on which Belgium will notify the Bahamas through diplomatic channels that it consents to this application.
Article 4
Definitions
1. In this Agreement:
(a) "The Bahamas" means the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, which encompasses the lands, territorial waters and, in accordance with international law and the laws of the Bahamas, any area outside territorial waters, including the exclusive economic zone and the seabed and the subsoil, on which the Bahamas exercises jurisdiction and sovereign rights for the exploration, exploitation and conservation of natural resources;
(b) "Belgium" means the Kingdom of Belgium; used in a geographical sense, this term refers to the territory of the Kingdom of Belgium, including the territorial sea as well as the maritime areas and the airspace on which, in accordance with international law, the Kingdom of Belgium exercises sovereign rights or jurisdiction;
(c) "funds or arrangements for collective placement" means any instrument of group placement, irrespective of its legal form;
(d) "public collective investment funds or arrangements" means any collective investment funds or arrangements in which the purchase, sale or redemption of shares or other investments is not implicitly or explicitly restricted to a limited group of investors;
(e) "society" means any legal person or entity considered to be a legal entity;
(f) "competent authority" means,
(i) in respect of the Bahamas, the Minister of Finance or his duly authorized delegate; and
(ii) in respect of Belgium, the Minister of Finance or its authorized representative;
(g) "criminal law" means any criminal provision referred to as such in domestic law, which is contained in tax legislation, criminal legislation or other laws;
(h) "in criminal tax matters" means any tax case involving an intentional act, before or after the entry into force of this Agreement, which is liable to prosecution under the criminal law of the requesting Party;
(i) "information" means any fact, statement or document, whatever the form;
(j) "information collection measures" means the legislative and regulatory provisions as well as administrative or judicial procedures that allow a requested Party to obtain and provide the requested information;
(k) "stretching", with respect to a Party, means:
(i) any natural person who has the nationality or citizenship of that Party, and
(ii) any corporation, partnership, association or other entity incorporated in accordance with the legislation in force in that Party;
(l) "person" means a natural person, society or any other group or group of persons;
(m) "main class of shares" means the class(s) of shares representing the majority of voting rights and the value of society;
(n) "listed company" means any corporation whose main class of shares is listed on a recognized stock exchange, the shares listed in the corporation to be purchased or sold easily by the public. Shares may be purchased or sold " by the public" if the purchase or sale of shares is not implicitly or explicitly restricted to a limited group of investors;
(o) "recognized scholarship" means any exchange agreed by the competent authorities of the Parties;
(p) "Required Party" means the Party to this Agreement to which information is requested or that has provided information in response to an application;
(q) "Applicant Party" means the Party to this Agreement that submits a request for information or has received information from the requested Party;
(r) "tax" means any tax referred to in this Agreement.
2. For the purposes of this Agreement at any time by a Party, any term or expression that is not defined therein, unless the context requires a different interpretation, the meaning assigned to it, at that time, the law of that Party, the meaning assigned to that term or expression by the applicable tax law of that Party over the meaning assigned to it by the other branches of the law of that Party.
Article 5
Exchange of information on request
1. The competent authority of the requested Party shall, upon request of the requesting Party, provide the information for the purposes referred to in Article 1. This information shall be exchanged, whether or not the requested Party needs it for its own tax purposes and whether the act under investigation constitutes a criminal offence under the law of the requested Party if it had occurred in the territory of that Party. The competent authority of the requesting Party shall submit an application for information under this article only where it is not in a position to obtain the information requested by other means, except where the use of such other means would result in disproportionate difficulties.
2. If the information in the possession of the competent authority of the requested Party is not sufficient to enable it to respond to the request for information, the requested Party shall take all appropriate information-gathering measures necessary to provide the requested Party with the information, even if the requested Party does not require that information for its own tax purposes.
3. Upon specific request by the competent authority of the requesting Party, the competent authority of the requested Party shall provide the information referred to in this article, to the extent that its domestic law allows it, in the form of testimony of witnesses and certified copies in accordance with the original documents.
4. Notwithstanding any contrary provision of its domestic legislation, each Party shall have the right, subject to the terms of Articles 1er and 2 of this Agreement, to obtain and provide:
(a) information held by banks, other financial institutions, trusts, foundations and any person acting as an agent or trustee;
(b) information relating to the ownership of companies, partnership companies, collective investment schemes, trusts (trusts), foundations and other persons, including information on all such persons when they are part of a chain of ownership, and
(i) with respect to collective investment arrangements, information on shares, shares and other participations;
(ii) with respect to trusts, grantor information (settlors), trustees, protectors (protectors) and beneficiaries;
(iii) with respect to foundations, information on founders, board members of the foundation and beneficiaries; and
(iv) in respect of persons who are not collective investment arrangements, trusts or foundations, information equivalent to the information referred to in subparagraphs (i) to (iii),
In addition, this Agreement does not require Parties to obtain or provide property information relating to listed companies or public pooled funds or devices, unless such information may be obtained without causing disproportionate difficulties.
5. Any request for information is made in as detailed as possible and in writing:
(a) the identity of the taxpayer under control or investigation;
(b) the identity of the person in respect of which the information is requested, where that person is not also the taxpayer referred to in subparagraph (a) of this subsection;
(c) the period for which the information is requested;
(d) the nature of the information requested and the form in which the requesting Party would prefer to receive it;
(e) the tax purpose in which the information is requested, including:
(i) the reference to the legal authority for which, according to the tax legislation of the requesting Party, the information is requested; and
(ii) if it is a criminal tax matter;
(f) the reasons that suggest that the information requested is likely to be relevant to the administration or application of the taxes of the requesting Party referred to in Article 3 with respect to a person identified in subparagraph (a) of this paragraph;
(g) reasons that suggest that the information requested is in the requested Party, or is in the possession of a person within the jurisdiction of that Party, or may be obtained by a person within the jurisdiction of that Party;
(h) to the extent that they are known, the name and address of any person who is deemed to be in possession of the information requested, or is in a position to obtain it;
(i) a statement stating that the application complies with this Agreement;
(j) a statement stating that the requesting Party used to obtain the information all available means in its own territory, apart from those that would cause disproportionate difficulties.
6. The competent authority of the Requested Party shall acknowledge receipt of the application to the competent authority of the Requesting Party, shall notify the requesting Party of any unforeseen delay in the collection of the requested information and shall endeavour to transmit the requested information to the requesting Party as soon as possible.
Article 6
Foreign tax controls
1. The competent authority of the requesting Party may request that the competent authority of the requested Party authorize, provided that it is not contrary to domestic law, representatives of the competent authority of the requesting Party to enter the territory of the requested Party to interrogate physical persons and examine documents, with the prior written consent of the natural persons or other persons concerned. The competent authority of the requesting Party shall notify the competent authority of the requested Party within a reasonable period of time the date and place of the meeting with the natural persons concerned.
2. At the request of the competent authority of the requesting Party, the competent authority of the requested Party may authorize representatives of the competent authority of the requesting Party to attend a tax check in the territory of the requested Party.
3. If the request referred to in paragraph 2 is accepted, the competent authority of the requested Party that conducts the control shall, as soon as possible, notify the competent authority of the requesting Party of the date and place of the control, the authority or person authorized to conduct the control and the procedures and conditions required by the requested Party for the conduct of the control. Any decision on the conduct of tax control shall be taken by the requested Party that conducts control.
Article 7
Possibility to decline a request
1. The competent authority of the requested Party may refuse assistance:
(a) where the application is not submitted in accordance with this Agreement;
(b) where the requesting Party has not used all available means in its own territory to obtain the information, except where the use of such means would result in disproportionate difficulties; or
(c) where the disclosure of the requested information is contrary to its national security or public order.
2. This Agreement does not require a Party required to provide information subject to confidentiality (legal privilege) or information that would disclose a commercial, industrial or commercial secret or process, provided that the information referred to in Article 5, paragraph 4, will not, for that sole reason, be treated as a secret or a commercial process.
3. An application for information may not be rejected on the grounds that the tax claim under the application is contested.
4. The Requested Party may reject a request for information if the information is requested by the requesting Party to apply or enforce a provision of the tax legislation of the requesting Party, or any obligation related to it, which is discriminatory against a national of the requested Party in relation to a national of the requesting Party in the same circumstances.
Article 8
Confidentiality
1. Any information received by a Party under this Agreement shall be held in confidence and shall be disclosed only to persons or authorities (including the courts and administrative bodies) within the jurisdiction of that Party who are concerned by the establishment, collection, collection or enforcement of the taxes referred to in this Agreement, or by the prosecution or appeal decisions relating to such taxes. These individuals or authorities may only use this information for these purposes. These may be reported at public court hearings or in court decisions. The information may not be disclosed to any other person, entity or authority or other foreign authority (including a foreign government) without the express written authorization of the competent authority of the requested Party.
2. Where information provided for criminal tax purposes pursuant to this Agreement is subsequently used for non-penal tax purposes (and vice versa), the competent authority that provided the information is informed of this change of use, prior to the change or within a reasonable time from the change.
Article 9
Tax treatment of meetings
Expenses incurred by a resident of a Party for any meeting (including a seminar, meeting, congress or other similar event) in the other Party shall be deductible, for purposes of taxation in the first Party, to the extent that such expenses would be deductible if the meeting had taken place in the first Party.
Article 10
Fees
Unless otherwise agreed by the competent authorities of the Parties, the indirect costs incurred to provide assistance shall be borne by the requested Party, and the direct costs incurred to provide assistance (including costs resulting from the use of external advisers in litigation or for other purposes) shall be borne by the requesting Party. The competent authorities shall consult periodically on this article. In particular, the competent authority of the requested Party shall consult with the competent authority of the requesting Party in advance if it expects that the provision of information with respect to a specific request will result in substantial costs.
Article 11
Friendly procedure
1. In the event of difficulties or doubts between the Parties regarding the application or interpretation of this Agreement, the competent authorities shall endeavour to resolve the matter by mutual agreement.
2. In addition to the agreements referred to in paragraph 1, the competent authorities of the Parties may jointly determine the procedures to be followed in accordance with this Agreement.
3. The competent authorities of the Parties may communicate with each other directly when seeking an agreement under this Article.
4. Parties may also agree on other forms of dispute resolution.
Article 12
Application provisions
Parties shall adopt any legislation necessary to comply with and give effect to the Agreement.
Article 13
Language
Requests for assistance and responses to these requests are in the English language.
Article 14
Entry into force
Each Party shall notify the other of the procedures required by its legislation for the entry into force of this Agreement. This Agreement shall enter into force on the date of the second of such notifications, and shall be applicable, for all matters referred to in Article 1er, in respect of taxable periods starting from 1er January of the year immediately following that of the entry into force of the Agreement or, if not taxable, with respect to taxes due for taxable events occurring from 1er January of the year immediately following that of the entry into force of the Agreement.
Article 15
Denunciation
1. Each Party may denounce the Agreement by notifying this denunciation in writing and through diplomatic channels.
2. This denunciation takes effect on the first day of the month following the expiration of a period of three months from the date of receipt of the notification of denunciation by the other Party. All applications received up to the effective date of denunciation will be processed in accordance with this Agreement.
3. The Party denouncing the Agreement shall remain bound by the provisions of Article 8 for any information obtained under this Agreement.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF the undersigned, duly authorized by their respective Governments, have signed this Agreement.
DONE in Brussels, December 7, 2009, in duplicate, in the English language.