A Boost To Transparency And International Tax Cooperation
21 November 2013
Posted by: Author: OECD
International efforts to combat tax evasion and avoidance got a boost
today as additional countries and jurisdictions agreed to join more
than 60 other countries in tax co-operation through a key multilateral
tax instrument during the first day of a global meeting in Jakarta,
Liechtenstein and San Marino became the 62nd and 63rd signatories of the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters at a ceremony marking the first day of the 21-22 November meeting of the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes.
The Global Forum brings together 121
countries and jurisdictions for wide-ranging discussions on transparency
and international tax co-operation, and is the largest such group
worldwide. Its sixth meeting has brought together more than 200
delegates from 86 member jurisdictions and 11 international
A key topic of discussion is the move by tax authorities worldwide
from bilateral to multilateral cooperation and from exchange of
information on request to automatic exchange of information. The
Convention provides a comprehensive multilateral framework for such
co-operation and complements other initiatives, such as the standardised
multilateral automatic exchange model being developed by the OECD and
its G20 partners. This Convention is seen as the ideal instrument to
swiftly implement automatic exchange, and to do so with a wide range of
The Convention also provides for spontaneous exchange of information,
simultaneous tax examinations and assistance in tax collection. A
valuable tool for governments to fight offshore tax evasion, the
Convention also ensures compliance with national tax laws and respects
the rights of taxpayers by protecting the confidentiality of the
information exchanged. Tax co-operation and compliance are of crucial
importance for all countries and citizens - and not only in times of a
tight fiscal and budgetary environment.
Canada, New Zealand, the Slovak Republic and South Africa deposited
instruments of ratification, while the Philippines and the Seychelles
signed letters of intention to sign the Convention.
Another important development is the deposit by the United Kingdom of
declarations extending the territorial scope of the Convention to cover
the following jurisdictions: Isle of Man (Crown Dependency) and
Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Gibraltar,
Montserrat, and Turks & Caicos (Overseas Territories).
Participants in the Global Forum noted that support for the
Convention’s central transparency and information exchange objectives is
increasing rapidly, while the number of jurisdictions that have signed
or are covered by the Convention has almost doubled since the Fifth Global Forum meeting in October 2012 in Cape Town.
At present, 63 countries have signed the Convention, four have signed
letters of intention to sign and 13 jurisdictions are now covered by
way of territorial extension. This includes recent signatories Andorra,
Hungary, Switzerland and Chile, as well as Monaco, which signed a letter
of intention to sign the Convention earlier this month. 36 signatory
countries have now deposited their instruments of ratification.
This article first appeared in oecd.org.