Information Exchange

ShellsIf a person or entity resident in one jurisdiction owns income-generating assets in another jurisdiction, the resident’s tax authorities generally need to know about that asset or income, to assess their tax liabities. So jurisdictions exchange information with each other for tax (and other) purposes under a range of international schemes, agreements and protocols. Many, of course, don’t exchange or even collect that information locally – or they put up obstacles in the way of information exchange.

Historically, the OECD, a club of rich countries that has been mandated by G20 leaders to promote the agenda, has claimed that its very weak “on request” standards for information exchange constitute the “internationally agreed standard” for information exchange. “On request” means that information is only passed over after a clear request is made, specifying the taxpayer concerned and various other bits of information about him or her. In essence, you have to already know what you are looking for before you ask for it.

However, from around 2012 a new consensus started to emerge, strongly supported by the Tax Justice Network and its allies, that the world needs far stronger standards, notably “automatic” information exchange between jurisdiction, on a multilateral basis. Various working examples of automatic information exchange are already up and running: perhaps most notably the EU’s Savings Tax Directive and the U.S. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA.)

This page provides links and news about information exchange. See also our information exchange archive for older stories.

Image credit: Christian Aid, with thanks.

Blogs on Information Exchange

Highlights pre-2014

  • Jan 2013 – Towards multilateral automatic information exchange: Current practice of AIE in selected countries. TJN briefing paper.
  • May 2012 – UK government explains why information exchange is superior over withholding taxes. Originals here and here.
  • Feb 2012 – Briefing paper: analysis of the Council of Europe/OECD Convention on Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters. Original here
  • Sept 2010 – TJN policy paper on automatic information between northern and southern countries

See more stories here.

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