Tax

Signing Ceremony of the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement for the Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information (MAAC)

 

Remarks by Angel Gurría,

Secretary-General, OECD

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Paris, France

(As prepared for delivery)

 

 

Ministers, Ambassadors, Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

Today marks another significant step in our collective pursuit to modernise the international tax landscape, ensuring that the right amount of tax is paid and fostering confidence in the tax system.

 

The international community’s resolve to tackle tax evasion is stronger than ever. By working together we are setting new standards, committing to implement them and transforming them into concrete actions, all in record time.

 

Just one year ago, the Ministerial Council Meeting adopted a declaration adhered to by 47 countries that included a commitment to swiftly implement the new international standard on automatic exchange of information. At that point the standard was still hot off the press.

 

Since then, we have seen major shifts in the tax transparency landscape that few could have predicted:
 

  • G20 Leaders endorsed the standard and committed to implement the standard starting in 2017 or 2018.

  • A total of 94 jurisdictions (including all major financial centres except Panama) have committed to implement the standard with the same timetable as the G20. The EU has adopted the same standard developed by the OECD so that there is only one, single common global standard. 

  • Developing countries will also reap the benefits of this new more transparent environment, with Ghana last month being the latest country to commit to implement the standard and start exchanging information in 2018.

 

Now, with today’s signings, 60 jurisdictions, including those around this table, have converted their commitments into concrete action. The signing of this multilateral automatic exchange agreement is an important step closer to making the end of bank secrecy a reality. The agreement specifies the details of what information will be exchanged and when, as set out in the standard. There will soon be nowhere for tax evaders to hide.  Our work is already having an impressive impact, with more than 37 billion euros already collected by two dozen countries under voluntary compliance initiatives launched in advance of automatic exchange taking effect.

 

All of this has happened in just one year. But in a sense the work has only just begun. We now have a collective responsibility to ensure the widest possible adoption of this standard and to assist in its effective implementation so that all jurisdictions benefit from it, OECD, non-OECD, large and small, developed and developing.

 

The OECD, along with the international community, is already assisting countries with the implementation of the standard. We are providing in-country support where needed and are developing a monitoring and evaluation process through the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax old site that will ensure the consistent application of the standard and a level playing field. 

 

Ladies and gentlemen, today marks another key moment in stepping up the fight against offshore tax evasion. I congratulate the countries represented here for acting so quickly on the commitments made last year. And I offer the full support of the OECD in the implementation process that is now to follow. Together, let’s make tax transparency a reality around the world!