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Liechtenstein To Sign OECD Multilateral Tax Convention

by Ulrika Lomas, Lowtax.net, Brussels
19 November, 2013

In a Governmental Declaration on continued international tax cooperation, the Principality of Liechtenstein announced plans to sign the OECD Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters.

In the Declaration, presented by the Head of Government Adrian Hasler, Liechtenstein reaffirmed its commitment to the applicable OECD standards. Furthermore, the Principality defined its position on the future development of global standards, while at the same time respecting the legitimate interests of the financial center's clients.

Determined to actively participate in the development and implementation of an international standard for information exchange, Liechtenstein said that it intends to sign the OECD/Council of Europe Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters in Jakarta on November 21, 2013. Following ratification of the Convention, Liechtenstein pledged to implement the applicable standard of administrative assistance with all contracting states.

Commenting, Head of Government Hasler said: "The Principality of Liechtenstein assumes that automatic information exchange in tax matters will in future become the international standard. Thus, Liechtenstein is offering to participate actively at OECD and Global Forum level in the discussion about the development of an international standard based on clarity, predictability and equal treatment. A level playing field for all the different financial centers and the global effectiveness of new measures need to be ensured."

In addition, the Liechtenstein Government underlined that the Principality is prepared to negotiate bilateral agreements on automatic exchange of tax information, based on the future OECD standard, provided these agreements give due consideration to the legitimate interests involved with states that fulfil the requirements for this transparent approach. Liechtenstein is paying particular attention in this regard to the G5 countries, namely Germany, the UK, France, Italy and Spain, the Government added.

Concluding, the Government underscored that: "The Liechtenstein Government believes that effective tax cooperation includes more than just information exchange. Liechtenstein is pursuing a comprehensive approach, encompassing models to ensure past and future tax compliance, as well as agreements to prevent double taxation and discrimination."

It emphasized: "This all centers on the longstanding relationship of trust with the financial center's clients and their right to protection of personal data and to a proper process for determining their rights and obligations in tax matters. Liechtenstein is thus providing customers of its financial center with greater legal certainty and clearer prospects. It is also strengthening its international position as a reliable and trustworthy partner."

The Government ended by stressing that: "Liechtenstein's position, as set out in this Declaration, is a result of the involvement of all the major players in the financial center."

OECD Secretary General Angel Gurria has welcomed Liechtenstein's decision to sign the OECD Multilateral Convention and to take further strides to increase transparency and international cooperation.

Gurria insisted that Liechtenstein has taken "a very significant step" towards full transparency by endorsing the new standard on automatic exchanging of information, joining other countries in this area.

He said: "We welcome the Government's unambiguous new commitment to transparency, as well as its plan to sign the Multilateral Convention, which is becoming a truly global instrument, with more than 60 signatories."

The OECD's Multilateral Convention provides for all forms of mutual assistance: exchange on request, spontaneous exchange, tax examinations abroad, simultaneous tax examinations and assistance in tax collection, while protecting taxpayers' rights. It also provides the option to undertake automatic exchange, requiring an agreement between the parties interested in adopting this form of assistance.

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