25 September 2009 - On the eve of the Pittsburgh G20 Summit, the OECD and the Council of Europe agreed to improve international cooperation to combat tax evasion. The standards set by the joint 1988 Council of Europe and OECD Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters will be updated to reflect the new consensus for closer international co-operation. New rules are aimed to remove obstacles to effective cooperation and exchange of information, especially those related to bank secrecy legislation. They will also open the convention to countries which are not members of the Council of Europe or the OECD and therefore transform it into an instrument to fight tax evasion worldwide.
The Convention, which was jointly developed by the Council of Europe and OECD, entered into force in 1995. It provides a legal framework for trans-border cooperation while respecting national sovereignty and the rights of taxpayers. Interest in the convention has grown, with almost half of the 16 countries that have signed or ratified the Convention doing so in the last five years.
The Convention is expected to be revised at the latest before the G20 meeting in March 2010.