Automatic tax information exchange unearths €10 trillion offshore

Levels of automatic exchange of data between tax authorities almost doubled last year, uncovering €10 trillion in offshore assets, according to the OECD which says this is a ‘game changer’ in the fight against tax evasion

Nearly 100 countries carried out automatic exchange of information in 2019, enabling their tax authorities to obtain data on 84m financial accounts held offshore by their residents.

This represents a significant increase over 2018 – the first year of such information exchange – where information on 47m financial accounts was exchanged, representing €5 trillion.

The OECD says the growth stems from an increase in the number of jurisdictions receiving information as well as a wider scope of information exchanged.

The Common Reporting Standard requires countries and jurisdictions to exchange financial account information from non-residents obtained from their financial institutions automatically on an annual basis, reducing the possibility for offshore tax evasion. Many developing countries have joined the process and more are expected to join in the coming years.

Angel Gurría, OECD secretary-general, said: ‘Automatic exchange of information is a game changer.

‘This system of multilateral exchange created by the OECD and managed by the Global Forum is providing countries around the world, including many developing countries, with a wealth of new information, empowering their tax administrations to ensure that offshore accounts are being properly declared.

‘Countries are going to raise much needed revenue, especially critical now in light of the current Covid-19 crisis, while moving closer to a world where there is nowhere left to hide.’

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