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Improving the exchange of tax information among Council of Europe member states

Motion for a recommendation | Doc. 11887 | 30 April 2009

Mr Pieter OMTZIGT, Netherlands ; Ms Tina ACKETOFT, Sweden ; Mr Miloš ALIGRUDIĆ, Serbia, EPP/CD ; Mr Pedro AZPIAZU, Spain, ALDE ; Ms Marie-Louise BEMELMANS-VIDEC, Netherlands, EPP/CD ; Mr Laurent BÉTEILLE, France, EPP/CD ; Mr Vidar BJØRNSTAD, Norway ; Mr Luuk BLOM, Netherlands ; Lord David CHIDGEY, United Kingdom ; Ms Elvira CORTAJARENA ITURRIOZ, Spain ; Mr Detlef DZEMBRITZKI, Germany ; Mr Andreas GROSS, Switzerland, SOC ; Ms Azra HADŽIAHMETOVIĆ, Bosnia and Herzegovina, ALDE ; Mr Mike HANCOCK, United Kingdom, ALDE ; Mr Andres HERKEL, Estonia, EPP/CD ; Mr Gerd HÖFER, Germany ; Mr Ivan Nikolaev IVANOV, Bulgaria ; Ms Corien W.A. JONKER, Netherlands, EPP/CD ; Mr Oskars KASTĒNS, Latvia, ALDE ; Mr Albrecht KONEČNÝ, Austria, SOC ; Mr Anatoliy KOROBEYNIKOV, Russian Federation ; Ms Elvira KOVÁCS, Serbia, EPP/CD ; Mr Tiny KOX, Netherlands, UEL ; Mr Ertuğrul KUMCUOĞLU, Turkey, EDG ; Mr René van der LINDEN, Netherlands ; Mr Miloš MELČÁK, Czech Republic ; Mr Jean-Claude MIGNON, France, EPP/CD ; Mr João Bosco MOTA AMARAL, Portugal, EPP/CD ; Ms Marija PEJČINOVIĆ-BURIĆ, Croatia, EPP/CD ; Mr Johannes PFLUG, Germany ; Mr Jørgen POULSEN, Denmark, ALDE ; Mr Jakob PRESEČNIK, Slovenia, EPP/CD ; Mr Kimmo SASI, Finland, EPP/CD ; Mr Serhiy SOBOLEV, Ukraine ; Mr Ionuț-Marian STROE, Romania, ALDE ; Mr Egidijus VAREIKIS, Lithuania, EPP/CD ; Mr Rudi VIS, United Kingdom ; Mr Luca VOLONTÈ, Italy, EPP/CD ; Mr Paul WILLE, Belgium ; Mr Wolfgang WODARG, Germany

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe is aware that tax evasion is facilitated by barriers to the international exchange of information on tax matters.

The Assembly therefore welcomes the statement by the G20 leaders at their London Summit on 2 April 2009 that “the era of banking secrecy is over”, their readiness “to take agreed action against those jurisdictions which do not meet international standards in relation to tax transparency” and the publication that day by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) of its progress report on the jurisdictions surveyed by the OECD Global Forum in implementing the internationally agreed tax standard, which requires exchange of information on request in all tax matters for the administration and enforcement of domestic tax law without regard to a domestic tax interest requirement or bank secrecy for tax purposes. It also provides for extensive safeguards to protect the confidentiality of the information exchanged.

In this respect the Assembly notes with concern that the list published by the OECD contains Council of Europe countries that are not fully co-operating in tax information exchange, and that the safeguards imposed may allow significant levels of tax evasion.

The Assembly refers to the OECD’s model double taxation convention whose article 26 provides for the exchange of information on tax matters, and calls for its full implementation.

The Assembly recommends that the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, in co-operation with the OECD:

  • review the effectiveness of information exchange on tax matters between the 47 member states, and take legal steps to improve it where necessary;
  • review the relevant Council of Europe conventions, notably the Council of Europe Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters of 1988, and urge those member states that have not signed or ratified this convention to do so without delay.