A fresh global ‘mechanism for co-operation’ and a sharing of information between different countries tax officials has been agreed at a special project meeting of the Joint International Tax Shelter Information and Collaboration (JITSIC) Network, held yesterday in Paris.
The hastily-arranged meeting took place at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation & Development’s offices. It brought together senior tax administration officials from the 46 JITSIC member countries, to discuss how best to work together in obtaining data and sharing tax-relevant information, in light of the recent so-called Panama Papers revelations.
In a statement to International Investment in response to questions, the OECD confirmed the facts of the meeting, and said that there was a general understanding among the tax officials following the meeting that they would make more of an effort share information, and that they would set about making reforms relevant to their own countries upon their return.
The OECD added that follow-up will be ensured by each tax administration, “in accordance with its own domestic laws and regulations”, as well as information-sharing agreements that governments have in place between them.
The OECD said it could not reveal any further details, as the discussions had been confidential, and because it isn’t privy to any taxpayer-specific information.
JITSIC is a body of tax officials who exchange views, information and practices at an operational level. It is a network of the OECD Forum on Tax Administration. It was originally established in 2004 to combat cross-border tax avoidance, and re-launched in 2014 with many new members from across the FTA.
As reported, yesterday’s meeting in Paris had been chaired by the Australian tax office’s head of international tax, Mark Konza.
Post-paper release fall-out
Although most experts acknowledge that the full impact of the release of the Panama Papers documents won’t be known for years, there’ve been numerous immediate repercussions, including, last week, the resignation of Iceland’s prime minister, after it emerged that he had connections to an offshore company.
UK prime minister David Cameron also came under pressure after it was disclosed that he had invested in an investment fund set up by his father in Panama.
The French government, meanwhile, returned Panama to its official tax haven ‘blacklist’ in the wake of the Mossack Fonseca revelations. It had removed Panama from the list in 2012.