Starting in 2012, political interest has increasingly focused on the opportunities provided by an automatic exchange of information between tax authorities.
On 6 September 2013, the G20 Leaders committed to the automatic exchange of information as the new global standard and fully supported the OECD work for developing a single standard for automatic exchange of information. On 23 February 2014, the G20 Finance Ministers endorsed the OECD Common Reporting Standard for automatic exchange of tax information (which is now contained in Part II of the full version of the global standard).
Continuing its work on the automatic exchange of information, the OECD released its global standard for automatic exchange of information (the ‘Standard’) on 21 July 2014.
New global standard for automatic exchange of information
The Standard calls on governments to obtain detailed account information from their financial institutions and exchange that information automatically with other jurisdictions on an annual basis.
The Standard includes the automatic exchange of financial account information, including balances, interest, dividends and sales proceeds from financial assets, reported to governments by financial institutions and covering accounts held by individuals and entities, including trusts and foundations. The Standard includes commentary and guidance for implementation by governments and financial institutions, detailed model agreements, as well as standards for harmonized technical and information technology solutions, notably a standard format and requirements for secure transmission of data.
More than 65 countries and jurisdictions have already publicly committed to implementation, while more than 40 have committed to a specific and ambitious timetable leading to the first automatic information exchanges in 2017. More jurisdictions are expected to commit to implement the Standard in the run-up to the late-October meeting of the Global Forum Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes, which brings together more than 120 countries and jurisdictions. At this occasion, a signing ceremony is expected to be held for a new multilateral agreement that activates automatic exchange once legislation and other conditions are in place.
The Standard can be found here.
The OECD is also in the process of reviewing its policy towards voluntary disclosure programs for taxpayers, as contained in the 2010 OECD report “Offshore voluntary disclosure: comparative analysis, guidance and policy advice”.
The OECD invites public comments on how the framework for voluntary disclosure could be further improved and what particular features might encourage more taxpayers to come forward and take advantage of such programs. Comments should be sent to WP10@oecd.org no later than 12 September 2014.
The OECD report on voluntary disclosure can be found here.