At the close of the Spring European Union (EU) Summit, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation & Development (OECD) today issued a media statement, noting that in today’s difficult economic environment growing political attention is being brought to bear on the issue of tax co-operation.
The OECD took the opportunity to promote its extensive expertise not only on tax conventions, but also on issues related to tax cooperation. Principles developed at the OECD with regard to the exchange of information for tax purposes serve, it says, *”as a model for most of the bilateral tax conventions entered into by OECD and non-OECD countries and may be considered the international standard for tax co-operation.”*
Following the G20 Washington Summit Action Plan, the OECD was asked to draw up a paper setting out the current situation with regard to international tax cooperation. Accordingly, the Secretariat prepared a summary of information already contained in various reports published by the Organisation as well as in working papers that had been discussed in various subsidiary bodies of the OECD Council. Among other things, these documents refer to a threshold of 12 agreements signed in accordance with the standard as a good indicator for assessing progress made in applying the standard. The documents were circulated to all 84 jurisdictions participating in the OECD Global Forum on transparency and exchange of information.
The OECD maintains that the summary of information supplied is factual in nature and implies no judgment on its part. Secretary-General Angel Gurría has kept relevant OECD member countries informed – including at ministerial and presidential levels – about the nature of the G20 request and shared with them the documentation that was provided. He has said that far-reaching and rapid changes were taking place in the political environment which warranted a swift response.
The OECD statement concluded with a welcome to the commitments coming out of the EU Summit and advice that it ”will be supporting and monitoring their proper implementation.”