The OECD announced today that 15 countries have signed an updated [Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters](http://www.oecd.org/document/14/0,3343,en_2649_33767_2489998_1_1_1_1,00.html).
In April 2009, the G20 called for action “*to make it easier for developing countries to secure the benefits of the new cooperative tax environment, including a multilateral approach for the exchange of information.”* In response, the OECD and the Council of Europe developed a Protocol amending the multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters to bring it in line with the international standard on exchange of information for tax purposes and to open it up to countries that are neither members of the OECD nor of the Council of Europe.
The updated Convention was presented to Ministers and Ambassadors attending the annual OECD Ministerial meeting today in Paris, and was signed by 11 countries already Parties to the Convention –Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Italy, France, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Ukraine, the United Kingdom and the United States. In addition, Korea, Mexico, Portugal and Slovenia signed both the Convention and the amending Protocol.
Jeffrey Owens, Director of the OECD Centre for Tax Policy and Administration said *“This is another success story in the fight against offshore tax evasion. Once the Protocol has entered into the Convention will be a very powerful instrument that will contribute to a fairer world where all taxpayers pay the right amount of tax, at the right time.”*
The Convention provides for a wide range of tools for cross-border tax co-operation including exchange of information, multilateral simultaneous tax examinations, service of documents, and cross-border assistance in tax collection, while imposing extensive safeguards to protect the confidentiality of the information exchanged.
The OECD anticipates that once the Protocol has entered into force, the Convention will become a more powerful tool for multilateral tax cooperation as it will enable a wider group of countries to become parties – and will require full exchange of information on request in all tax matters without regard to a domestic tax interest requirement or bank secrecy for tax purposes.