1044. Samoa can legally issue the following five types of rulings within the scope of the transparency framework: (i) preferential regimes;1 (ii) cross-border unilateral APAs and any other cross-border unilateral tax rulings (such as an advance tax ruling) covering transfer pricing or the application of transfer pricing principles; (iii) rulings providing for unilateral downward adjustments; (iv) permanent establishment rulings; and (v) related party conduit rulings. As stated in the Tax Administration Act (TAA) of 2012, it is the Commissioner of Inland Revenue Services (Commissioner) that has the authority to issue either a public or private rulings on tax related matters.

1045. For Samoa, past rulings are any tax rulings issued prior to 1 September 2021. However, there is no obligation for Samoa to conduct spontaneous exchange information on past rulings.

1046. For Samoa, future rulings are any tax rulings within scope that are issued on or after 1 September 2021.

1047. The ruling process in Samoa is well established despite the fact that no rulings have yet been issued. Any rulings issued are stored, both the hard copy and the electronic copy, in a confidential repository and database, respectively, within the Legal and Technical Division (LTD). LTD receives a notification from the Commissioner if there is a request for a ruling. A legal officer of LTD receives the notification for a request of ruling, enters the request into a spreadsheet and annotates the relevant details pertaining to the taxpayer and the timeline of the ruling. If a ruling is approved by the Commissioner, a hard copy is kept in a confidential repository, which is also stored in a secure Exchange of Information (EOI) room accessed only by LTD personnel. With regard to the electronic files, these are stored on a secure server accessible only by LTD personnel. Rulings can be easily identified from the electronic and physical files held by LTD. LTD also houses the EOI Unit and EOI personnel would be made aware that a ruling is being processed and possibly finalised. EOI personnel would be in charge of identifying which rulings are in the scope of the transparency framework. Given the expected small volumes of ruling applications in the jurisdiction, this process can be carried out manually. For rulings in scope of the transparency framework, EOI personnel would then identify relevant exchange jurisdictions. In case additional information is required in relation to these jurisdictions, Samoa can use its powers under the TAA to retrieve such information. Samoa is also considering to collect this information at the time the request of ruling is made by the taxpayer. LTD will be working on formalising a ruling request document that would have all the necessary information to comply with the transparency standard. Samoa also intends to provide training on the information gathering process to LTD/EOI personnel.

1048. To date, no rulings within the scope of the transparency framework have been issued as no applications have been submitted by taxpayers requiring the issuance of such rulings. As such, there was no need to identify potential exchange jurisdictions.

1049. The accuracy of the information gathering process and the identification of rulings within the scope of the transparency framework is supervised by EOI personnel. This work is conducted via a memorandum which is reviewed by the principal EOI officer and then approved by the legal manager. The approved memorandum is then sent to the Commissioner and the Competent Authority for consideration and approval before information on relevant rulings are exchanged with the relevant jurisdictions. Given the expected small volumes of ruling applications in the jurisdiction, Samoa is able to ensure a meticulous supervision and monitoring process.

1050. Samoa has met all of the ToR for the information gathering process and no recommendations are made.

1051. Samoa has the necessary domestic legal basis to exchange information spontaneously. Samoa notes that there are no legal or practical impediments that prevent the spontaneous exchange of information on rulings as contemplated in the Action 5 minimum standard.

1052. Samoa has international agreements permitting spontaneous exchange of information, including: (i) the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters: Amended by the 2010 Protocol (OECD/Council of Europe, 2011[1]) (“the Convention”) and (ii) having a bilateral agreement in force with one jurisdiction.2

1053. Although Samoa issued no future rulings, Samoa has indicated that the Competent Authority, within LTD, will immediately be made aware when a ruling in scope of the transparency framework is being processed. If the ruling is finalised, the EOI personnel will proceed to fill in the Annex C template based on the memorandum approved by the Commissioner and containing all relevant information and will exchange it with the relevant exchange jurisdictions according to the agreed timelines. Samoa also intends to provide LTD/EOI personnel dealing with the exchanges with training on this process.

1054. During the year in review, no exchanges were required to take place and no data on the timeliness of exchanges is reported.

1055. Samoa has the necessary legal basis for spontaneous exchange of information and has a process for completing the templates in a timely way. Samoa has met all of the ToR for the exchange of information process and no recommendations are made.

1056. As no rulings were issued, no statistics can be reported.

1057. Samoa does not offer an intellectual property regime for which transparency requirements under the Action 5 Report (OECD, 2015[2]) were imposed.


[3] OECD (2021), BEPS Action 5 on Harmful Tax Practices - Terms of Reference and Methodology for the Conduct of the Peer Reviews of the Action 5 Transparency Framework, OECD Publishing, Paris,

[2] OECD (2015), Countering Harmful Tax Practices More Effectively, Taking into Account Transparency and Substance, Action 5 - 2015 Final Report, OECD/G20 Base Erosion and Profit Shifting Project, OECD Publishing, Paris,

[1] OECD/Council of Europe (2011), The Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters: Amended by the 2010 Protocol, OECD Publishing, Paris,


← 1. Samoa grants several preferential regimes, possibly in scope of the Forum on Harmful Tax Practices (FHTP) work, that have not yet been reviewed by the FHTP, but for which rulings could be issued under the Transparency Framework.

← 2. Participating jurisdictions to the Convention are available here: Samoa also has a bilateral agreement with New Zealand.

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