In Paris today, the OECD announced that it will publish its latest Report on international co-operation on transparency and exchange of information in tax matters next week.

Entitled *“Tax Co-operation: Towards a Level Playing Field – 2006 Assessment by the Global Forum on Taxation”*, the report reviews legal and administrative frameworks in more than 80 economies, measuring their practices against the principles agreed by participants in the OECD’s Global Forum on Taxation in these areas.

Paolo Ciocca, Chair of the OECD’s Committee of Fiscal Affairs and co-Chair of the Global Forum, accompanied by Christian Comolet-Tirman, Chair of the OECD’s Forum on Harmful Tax Practices, will host a Briefing on Monday, May 29, to release the Report.

The OECD Global Forum on Taxation is an informal body which brings together OECD member states and a number of non-member states, in particular off-shore financial centres. The fourth meeting of the forum took place from 15th – 16th November in Melbourne, Australia. At its conclusion, the OECD announced that the forum marked a further stage in international discussions on what is needed for a so-called “global level playing field” in the areas of transparency and exchange of information for tax purposes.

Participants discussed the outcome of a review of legal and administrative frameworks in place in selected countries. The review was undertaken in accordance with a process agreed at the third Global Taxation Forum in Berlin in June 2004. Discussions showed that considerable progress had already been made towards a global level playing field in the areas of transparency and effective exchange of information in tax matters. They identified a number of areas where further progress needs to be made, and advised that the final Report would be published in 2006. A Sub Group on Level Playing Field Issues, comprising both OECD and non-OECD economies, was mandated to assist in this process.

Members of the Sub-Group are Australia, The Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Cook Islands, France, Germany, Ireland, Isle of Man, Italy, Japan, Jersey, Mauritius, Mexico, Panama, St. Kitts and Nevis, Samoa, Seychelles, and the United States. The Commonwealth Secretariat serves as an observer.

In Melbourne, the Forum advised that the issuance of the final report will help to provide public recognition to those countries that have implemented the high standards of transparency and effective exchange of information and ensure that current information on countries’ legal and administrative frameworks is widely available.