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Worldwide: The Current Signatories To The OECD’s Convention

Wednesday, 12 June 2013   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Author: Charles Savva
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Author: Charles Savva

On 29 May 2013, a further nine countries signed the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters (the "Convention"), at a ceremony held by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

The OECD described the Convention as 'a freestanding multilateral agreement designed to promote international co-operation for a better operation of national tax laws, while respecting the fundamental rights of taxpayers.'

Another nine countries, including: Austria, Belize, Estonia, Latvia, Luxembourg, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and the Slovak Republic have signed the Convention; following the steps of Morocco that has recently signed the Convention. Furthermore, Burkina Faso, Chile and El Salvador signed a letter of intention to sign the Convention.

Moreover, Belize, Ghana, Greece, Ireland, Malta, the Netherlands including its Caribbean islands (Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba) Aruba, Curacao and Sint Maarten deposited their instruments of ratification.

The OECD Secretary-General, Angel Gurria, informed that 'this is a historic moment for the Convention and another winning round in the fight against tax cheats [...] In the past 2 years more than 60 countries have signed the Convention or stated their intention to do so, marking an important milestone on the road to closer cooperation and more transparency – to making the international system fair to all taxpayers.'

One of the great supporters of the OECD's Convention is the G20 group. The OECD worked closely with the successive presidencies (US, UK, Canada, South Korea, France, and Mexico) towards the same goals to implement more transparency and equity in taxation and to improve the cooperation between both organizations.

To date Cyprus has been very cooperative with the OECD and has, consequently been included on the OECD's White List (unlike other EU financial centres such as Luxembourg and the Netherlands, who were not included in the initial White List). This list includes countries that have substantially implemented the internationally agreed standards on the exchange of tax information based on OECD requirements. During the past year, there was mounting pressure by the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes for the OECD to carry out reports on numerous jurisdictions, including Cyprus whereby they evaluated whether their national laws allowed transparency and international exchange of tax information. The report on Cyprus highlighted that Cyprus has double tax treaties ("DTT") which are in line with the OECD standard and include provisions therein which allow for the exchange of relevant tax information with its counterparties. The OECD provides a model double taxation agreement which is used as a basis for negotiating and concluding state treaties. Cyprus is one of the countries that voluntarily adopted the model agreement as a basis for its DTT's although it is not a member of the OECD.

The current signatories to the Convention are:Albania, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Belize, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Moldova, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and United States of America.



Section 240A of the Tax Administration Act, 2011 (as amended) requires that all tax practitioners register with a recognized controlling body before 1 July 2013. It is a criminal offense to not register with both a recognized controlling body and SARS.

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