In April 2009, the G20 Leaders declared that “the era of banking secrecy is over”:
"We have today also issued a Declaration, Strengthening the Financial System. In particular we agree:
to take action against non-cooperative jurisdictions, including tax havens. We stand ready to deploy sanctions to protect our public finances and financial systems. The era of banking secrecy is over. We note that the OECD has today published a list of countries assessed by the Global Forum against the international standard for exchange of tax information"
The Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes (the Global Forum) was called on to deliver this result. Today, the Global Forum has over 160 member jurisdictions and has achieved massive progress in implementing the international tax transparency and exchange of information standards. With the strong backing of the G20 and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the Global Forum has produced the most impactful international project against offshore tax evasion in history.
“The scale of changes trigged by the Global Forum has been nothing short of revolutionary. By supporting the effective implementation of the exchange of information on request standard, the Global Forum challenged the widespread secrecy of banking, ownership and accounting information and made it available to tax authorities for the purpose of enforcing and administrating taxes. The implementation of the automatic exchange of information has become a real game-changer by providing tax authorities with a strong tool for detecting tax evasion in the crossborder context. Multilateral cooperation, supported by the G20 and OECD and guided by the principle of the level playing field, have delivered a transformation which was unthinkable just a decade ago.
Whilst the success is undeniable, the goals of the Global Forum are not yet accomplished. Tax evaders adapt their behaviour and find new ways of escaping tax liability. We have to stay alert and work closely together to ensure that in the battle against tax evasion, tax authorities are able to deliver on public expectations. Tax burden should be fairly and equitably shared by all members of our societies to bring prosperity and development to every corner of the world and to every household.”
María José Garde, Chair of the Global Forum