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Evasion the focus of discussions by OECD and European Forum

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Heads of tax administrations from 45 economies came together in Moscow for the 8th meeting of the OECD Forum on Tax Administration on 16-17 May to discuss coordinated action on fraud, evasion and aggressive tax planning. Noting the recent significant acquisition of data by the Australian, UK and US authorities, the Forum encouraged journalists and anyone else with information about offshore evasion to share it with the tax authorities. The OECD is also adapting its model of cooperative compliance for large business taxation to accommodate the different needs of SMEs.

In related news, at the meeting of ECOFIN on 14 May, the European Council adopted a number of recommendations on a multilateral approach to tax evasion and aggressive avoidance, whilst qualifying these with a note about their non-binding nature and the EU principle of subsidiarity in relation to tax matters. Discussions continued on amendments to the Savings Directive, including provision for taking ‘reasonable steps’ to establish beneficial ownership, and negotiating individual amended agreements with Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Andorra and San Marino.