31/08/2009 - Today the OECD issued its Tax Co-operation 2009: Towards a Level Playing Field – 2009 assessment by the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information.
This is the fourth annual assessment of progress being made towards greater transparency and information exchange in the area of taxation. This report covers 87 jurisdictions, including all the major financial centres around the world.
The Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information, which includes both OECD and non-OECD economies, has since its creation in 2000 worked to improve transparency and establish effective exchange of information. The publication of this year’s report comes at a time of heightened concern about tax evasion. In this new environment, governments are increasingly focused on the ability of jurisdictions to provide effective cooperation in international tax matters.
As the only comprehensive and objective compilation of such information, the reports are a vital tool in measuring the ability of countries to provide international co-operation in tax matters. A new feature of this year’s report is the presentation of summary assessments for each jurisdiction, providing a snapshot of their legal and administrative framework.
The report highlights the progress made up to 31 July 2009:
These developments mean that all countries surveyed by the Global Forum are now committed to the standard.
Most importantly the report shows that many other significant developments are underway as countries work to implement the OECD standards. In particular, virtually all countries are moving to eliminate strict bank secrecy for tax purposes. Commenting on these developments, Angel Gurría, Secretary-General of the OECD said: “What has happened is nothing less than a revolution.
For decades it has been possible for taxpayers to hide income and assets from the taxman by abusing bank secrecy and other impediments to information exchange. What these developments show is that this will no longer be possible.”
Since the report was finalized on the 31st of July jurisdictions have continued to make substantial progress:
The report is being published in conjunction with the 5th meeting of the Global Forum in Los Cabos, Mexico, on 1-2 September. Central to the Global Forum’s discussions will be plans for establishing a robust peer review mechanism designed to ensure full implementation of international standards which have now been globally endorsed.
More information about the report is available from www.oecd.org/ctp/htp/cooperation.
For further information about the OECD’s work on tax evasion, please visit www.oecd.org/tax/evasion.
For further details about the Global Forum meeting in Los Cabos, please visit www.oecd.org/tax/globalforum/loscabos.