As the current global financial crisis continues, the European financial hubs of Luxembourg, Switzerland, and Austria along with smaller European nations, and the Asian powerhouses of Hong Kong and Singapore have moved this month to improve international cooperation on tax matters by adopting the exchange of information standards developed by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The OECD’s general mission is to provide a strong and stable policy basis for the global economy, working both among its 30 member states as well as among non-member states worldwide.
Commenting on the development, OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría said, “These announcements mark a fundamental change and an important moment in the history of international tax cooperation.” The Secretary-General also said that, “[a]t a time when governments around the world need to maximize tax revenues in order to address the global economic crisis, this is an extremely important breakthrough.”
However, implementing the new policies – which were approved by finance ministers of the G-20 in 2004 – may take some time. Legislation and renegotiation of existing treaties and agreements may be necessary, especially as regards bank secrecy requirements.
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