02/04/2009 - Following the G20 meeting and communiqué, the OECD Secretariat has provided a detailed report on progress by financial centres around the world towards implementation of an internationally agreed standard on exchange of information for tax purposes. The report available here consists of four parts:
Welcoming the outcome of the G20 meeting, OECD Secretary General Angel Gurria said “recent developments reinforce the status of the OECD standard as the international benchmark and represent significant steps towards a level playing field. We now have an ambitious agenda, that the OECD is well placed to deliver on. I am confident that we can turn these new commitments into concrete actions to strengthen the integrity and transparency of the financial system”.
OECD’s Future Challenges:
1. Achieving a rapid and effective implementation of standard: Many of these commitments will require legislative changes and the negotiation of specific bilateral agreements in order to become effective, and the OECD stands ready to assist jurisdictions in their implementation.
2. Speeding up the negotiations of tax information exchange agreements (TIEAs). Small tax havens lack the resources to enter into negotiations with a large number of countries. The OECD’s 2002 Model Agreement on Exchange of Information on Tax Matters sets out an option for multilateral rather than bilateral TIEAs that the OECD intends to explore over the coming weeks. The OECD is also examining how the Nordic experience of multilateral negotiations leading to simultaneous bilateral agreements could be adopted more widely.
3. Extending the scope and role of the OECD’s action: The OECD Global Forum currently encompasses more than 80 jurisdictions and carries out self reviews and peer reviews to assess progress in implementation of the standard.
The time has now come to re-examine the membership, the architecture and the role of the Global Forum in setting standards and evaluating progress. The Global Forum will undertake more robust reviews, to strengthen the implementation of the standard.
The report produced following the G20 meeting, reflects the results of more than a decade of OECD work to bring greater openness and transparency to cross-border financial services.
The internationally agreed standard, developed by OECD and non-OECD countries in the context of the OECD’s Global Forum on Taxation and endorsed by G20 Finance Ministers in 2004 and by the UN Committee of Experts on International Co-operation in Tax Matters in October 2008, requires exchange of information on request in all tax matters for the administration and enforcement of domestic tax law without regard to a domestic tax interest requirement or bank secrecy for tax purposes. It also provides for extensive safeguards to protect the confidentiality of the information exchanged.
The OECD works with its 30 member countries and with others to develop sound policy frameworks for the governance of the world economy. It plays a leading role in such areas as tax policy, competition policy, cross-border investment, corporate governance and the fight against corruption.
The OECD’s work on the issues of transparency and exchange of information in tax matters was given new impetus by the G20 process begun at the November 2008 summit meeting in Washington, D.C.
A progress report on the jurisdictions surveyed can be found here.
Visit the OECD's site on tax evasion: www.oecd.org/tax/evasion
Visit the OECD's site on work with the G20: www.oecd.org/g20