Advances are being achieved in bringing greater transparency to financial centres around the world, but progress on exchange of information on tax issues is more limited, according to OECD’s latest report on its drive to bring more fairness to cross-border tax co-operation.

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has released its latest report on *”Tax Co-operation: Towards a Level Playing Field – 2008 Assessment”*, as produced by the Global Forum on Taxation.

The 2008 Assessment acknowledges the number of countries that have improved the availability of ownership information and access to bank information for tax purposes. It points, however, to the small number of offshore financial centres that have expanded their network of exchange-of-information agreements.

This is the third in a series of reports by the OECD’s Global Forum on Taxation. The Forum reviews how far the OECD’s standards of transparency and effective exchange of information are being implemented in 83 OECD and non OECD economies.

Some highlights of the report:

• Sixty-six new Double Tax Conventions (DTCs) and four new Tax Information Exchange Agreements (TIEAs) have entered into force. In addition, 17 TIEAs have been signed since the beginning of 2007.

• Eleven of the 83 economies still do not have tax information exchange agreements in the form of DTCs or TIEAs that are either signed or in force.

• Seventy-eight of the 83 economies are able to obtain and provide banking information in response to a request for information in criminal tax matters in some or all cases.

The OECD says that the Global Forum and individual countries will now need to consider how the countries that are making progress *”have their efforts recognised and responded to positively”* and how the countries that are not making progress *”do not benefit as a result.”*