Improving the process in the harmful tax practices work

OECD Observer

The OECD is inviting jurisdictions identified as tax havens that are interested in co-operation with the OECD Member countries to endorse a collective memorandum of understanding designed to eliminate harmful tax practices.

The proposed collective instrument, agreed at a meeting of the OECD's Forum on Harmful Tax Practices in Paris, would be available as an alternative to bilateral agreements between the OECD and individual offshore jurisdictions. The OECD’s intention is that both processes should be equally open and transparent and proceed at the same pace.

Some 23 of the 35 previously identified jurisdictions have already contacted the OECD’s Forum on Harmful Tax Practices with a view to co-operating in the drive against illegal and unfair tax practices. Speaking at a media briefing in Paris, Bruno Gibert, Director of the International Taxation Division of the French Ministry of Finance and one of the Forum’s two co-chairs, said the OECD countries are "very pleased" with the response so far to the OECD’s initiative.

Several of these jurisdictions have made excellent progress on formal commitments to work with the OECD to address the issues raised by harmful tax practices. Others are also making good progress but may need more time to complete their commitments. In the coming months, the OECD will approach jurisdictions that have not yet contacted the Forum, with a view to seeking their co-operation as well.

Earlier this year, the OECD announced that Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, Cyprus, Malta, Mauritius and San Marino had made commitments to co-operate with the OECD to fight harmful tax practices. The OECD has set a deadline of July 2001 for reaching similar agreements with other offshore jurisdictions. Failing such agreements, tax havens face the prospect of becoming targets of defensive measures on the part of OECD countries, possibly including the abrogation of bilateral tax treaties and enhanced auditing requirements for transactions between residents of OECD countries and persons or institutions resident in such unco-operative tax havens. Philip West, International Tax Counsel at the U.S. Treasury and the other co-chair of the Forum, emphasised, however, that the OECD’s objective is to avoid having to introduce defensive measures against any jurisdictions. "Our ultimate goal is to have a list of unco-operative tax havens with no names on it," he said.

With this in mind, the OECD announced plans for a conference on harmful tax practices in the Asia/Pacific region in February and said that it is examining plans for a similar conference in the Caribbean. The OECD will also invite representatives of jurisdictions that have already pledged to co-operate in combating harmful tax practices to a meeting in Paris in November to elicit their views on the subject of achieving effective exchange of information.

In parallel, the OECD is continuing to examine the problems posed by potentially harmful preferential tax regimes in its own Member countries. In June, the OECD announced a list of 47 such regimes. These are now being subjected to detailed examination to assist the commitments made by OECD countries in 1998 to eliminate harmful aspects by 2003.

©OECD Observer October 2000 

Economic data

GDP growth: +0.6% Q3 2017 year-on-year
Consumer price inflation: 2.3% Dec 2017 annual
Trade: +4.3% exp, +4.3% imp, Q3 2017
Unemployment: 5.5% Dec 2017
Last update: 12 Feb 2018


Stay up-to-date with the latest news from the OECD by signing up for our e-newsletter :

Twitter feed

Suscribe now

<b>Subscribe now!</b>

To receive your exclusive paper editions delivered to you directly

Online edition
Previous editions

Don't miss

  • Ambassador Aleksander Surdej, Permanent Representative of Poland to the OECD, was a guest on France 24’s English-language show “The Debate”, where he discussed French President Emmanuel Macron’s speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
  • The fight against tax evasion is gaining further momentum as Barbados, Côte d’Ivoire, Jamaica, Malaysia, Panama and Tunisia signed the BEPS Multilateral Convention on 24 January, bringing the total number of signatories to 78. The Convention strengthens existing tax treaties and reduces opportunities for tax avoidance by multinational enterprises.
  • Rousseau
  • Do you trust your government? The OECD’s How's life 2017 report finds that only 38% of people in OECD countries trust their government. How can we improve our old "Social contract?" Read more.
  • Papers show “past coming back to haunt us”: OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria tells Sky News that the so-called "Paradise Papers" show a past coming back to haunt us, but one which is now being dismantled. Please watch the video.
  • When someone asks me to describe an ideal girl, in my head, she is a person who is physically and mentally independent, brave to speak her mind, treated with respect just like she treats others, and inspiring to herself and others. But I know that the reality is still so much different. By Alda, 18, on International Day of the Girl. Read more.
  • Globalisation’s many benefits have been unequally shared, and public policy has struggled to keep up with a rapidly-shifting world. The OECD is working alongside governments and international organisations to help improve and harness the gains while tackling the root causes of inequality, and ensuring a level playing field globally. Please watch.
  • Read some of the insightful remarks made at OECD Forum 2017, held on 6-7 June. OECD Forum kick-started events with a focus on inclusive growth, digitalisation, and trust, under the overall theme of Bridging Divides.
  • Checking out the job situation with the OECD scoreboard of labour market performances: do you want to know how your country compares with neighbours and competitors on income levels or employment?
  • Trade is an important point of focus in today’s international economy. This video presents facts and statistics from OECD’s most recent publications on this topic.
  • The OECD Gender Initiative examines existing barriers to gender equality in education, employment, and entrepreneurship. The gender portal monitors the progress made by governments to promote gender equality in both OECD and non-OECD countries and provides good practices based on analytical tools and reliable data.
  • Interested in a career in Paris at the OECD? The OECD is a major international organisation, with a mission to build better policies for better lives. With our hub based in one of the world's global cities and offices across continents, find out more at .
  • Visit the OECD Gender Data Portal. Selected indicators shedding light on gender inequalities in education, employment and entrepreneurship.

Most Popular Articles

OECD Insights Blog

NOTE: All signed articles in the OECD Observer express the opinions of the authors
and do not necessarily represent the official views of OECD member countries.

All rights reserved. OECD 2018