12/10/2005 - The Isle of Man and the Netherlands have signed a bilateral agreement on the exchange of information for tax purposes which marks a major step forward in efforts by OECD and other economies to ensure open and fair tax competition.
The agreement authorises each party to request from the other information relating to a specific tax matter under audit or investigation. Since 1998, when the OECD launched its initiative to address harmful tax practices, similar agreements have been signed between the United States and Aruba, Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Jersey and the Netherlands Antilles. However, this is the first such agreement with an OECD country other than the U.S.
OECD Secretary-General Donald J. Johnston welcomed the agreement as an important step forward in the global effort to detect and deter abuses of the global financial system. “I congratulate both parties for having strengthened their bilateral co-operation to counter tax abuses. This agreement confirms the Isle of Man’s commitment to implement high international standards, thereby reinforcing its stature as a responsible international financial centre”, he said.
The Isle of Man became an important partner in the OECD’s initiative to improve transparency and exchange of information in tax matters in December 2000, when it committed to work with OECD member countries to further develop and implement these principles. Since that time, the Isle of Man has played an active role in taking forward the work in this area through the OECD Global Forum on Taxation. Notably, the Isle of Man was one of 11 jurisdictions that worked with OECD countries to develop a Model Agreement on Exchange of Information in Tax Matters, on which the bilateral agreement with the Netherlands is based.
The OECD’s efforts to address harmful tax practices focus on improving transparency and exchange of information so that countries can fully and fairly enforce their tax laws (see progress reports issued in 2000, 2001, and 2004). Today there are 33 jurisdictions that have committed to work with OECD countries under the auspices of the OECD’s Global Forum on Taxation to improve transparency and to establish effective information exchange for tax purposes. Current efforts are aimed at working towards A Process for Achieving a Global Level Playing Field in the areas of transparency and effective exchange of information. The next meeting of the Global Forum will be hosted by Australia in Melbourne on 15-16 November 2005.
For further information journalists are invited to contact: in the Netherlands Dick Schiethart (tel. 31.70.342 8403, mobile +31.6.1000 4817), in the Isle of Man Alistair.Ramsay@cso.gov.im , or the OECD’s Media Relations Division (tel: +33 1 4524 9700).