Text amended by the provisions of the Protocol amending the Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters, which entered into force on 1st June 2011.
The member States of the Council of Europe and the member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), signatories of this Convention,
Considering that the development of international movement of persons, capital, goods and services – although highly beneficial in itself – has increased the possibilities of tax avoidance and evasion and therefore requires increasing co-operation among tax authorities;
Welcoming the various efforts made in recent years to combat tax avoidance and tax evasion on an international level, whether bilaterally or multilaterally;
Considering that a co-ordinated effort between States is necessary in order to foster all forms of administrative assistance in matters concerning taxes of any kind whilst at the same time ensuring adequate protection of the rights of taxpayers;
Recognising that international co-operation can play an important part in facilitating the proper determination of tax liabilities and in helping the taxpayer to secure his rights;
Considering that fundamental principles entitling every person to have his rights and obligations determined in accordance with a proper legal procedure should be recognised as applying to tax matters in all States and that States should endeavour to protect the legitimate interests of taxpayers, including appropriate protection against discrimination and double taxation;
Convinced therefore that States should carry out measures or supply information, having regard to the necessity of protecting the confidentiality of information, and taking account of international instruments for the protection of privacy and flows of personal data;
Considering that a new co-operative environment has emerged and that it is desirable that a multilateral instrument is made available to allow the widest number of States to obtain the benefits of the new co-operative environment and at the same time implement the highest international standards of co-operation in the tax field;
Desiring to conclude a convention on mutual administrative assistance in tax matters,
Have agreed as follows:
Scope of the Convention
Article 1—Object of the Convention and persons covered
1. The Parties shall, subject to the provisions of Chapter IV, provide administrative assistance to each other in tax matters. Such assistance may involve, where appropriate, measures taken by judicial bodies.
Article 2—Taxes covered
4. The Convention shall also apply, as from their adoption, to any identical or substantially similar taxes which are imposed in a Contracting State after the entry into force of the Convention in respect of that Party in addition to or in place of the existing taxes listed in Annex A and, in that event, the Party concerned shall notify one of the Depositaries of the adoption of the tax in question.
1. For the purposes of this Convention, unless the context otherwise requires:
c. the term
“tax claim” means any amount of tax, as well as interest thereon, related administrative fines and costs incidental to recovery, which are owed and not yet paid;
For each Party that has made a declaration for that purpose, the terms used above will be understood as defined in Annex C.
2. As regards the application of the Convention by a Party, any term not defined therein shall, unless the context otherwise requires, have the meaning which it has under the law of that Party concerning the taxes covered by the Convention.
Forms of assistance
Section 1—Exchange of information
Article 4—General provision
1. The Parties shall exchange any information, in particular as provided in this section, that is foreseeably relevant for the administration or enforcement of their domestic laws concerning the taxes covered by this Convention.
3. Any Party may, by a declaration addressed to one of the Depositaries, indicate that, according to its internal legislation, its authorities may inform its resident or national before transmitting information concerning him, in conformity with Articles 5 and 7.
Article 5—Exchange of information on request
Article 6—Automatic exchange of information
Article 7—Spontaneous exchange of information
Article 8—Simultaneous tax examinations
2. For the purposes of this Convention, a simultaneous tax examination means an arrangement between two or more Parties to examine simultaneously, each in its own territory, the tax affairs of a person or persons in which they have a common or related interest, with a view to exchanging any relevant information which they so obtain.
Article 9—Tax examinations abroad
2. If the request is acceded to, the competent authority of the requested State shall, as soon as possible, notify the competent authority of the applicant State about the time and place of the examination, the authority or official designated to carry out the examination and the procedures and conditions required by the requested State for the conduct of the examination. All decisions with respect to the conduct of the tax examination shall be made by the requested State.
3. A Party may inform one of the Depositaries of its intention not to accept, as a general rule, such requests as are referred to in paragraph 1. Such a declaration may be made or withdrawn at any time.
Article 10—Conflicting information
Section II—Assistance in recovery
Article 11—Recovery of tax claims
1. At the request of the applicant State, the requested State shall, subject to the provisions of Articles 14 and 15, take the necessary steps to recover tax claims of the first-mentioned State as if they were its own tax claims.
2. The provision of paragraph 1 shall apply only to tax claims which form the subject of an instrument permitting their enforcement in the applicant State and, unless otherwise agreed between the Parties concerned, which are not contested.
However, where the claim is against a person who is not a resident of the applicant State, paragraph 1 shall only apply, unless otherwise agreed between the Parties concerned, where the claim may no longer be contested.
3. The obligation to provide assistance in the recovery of tax claims concerning a deceased person or his estate, is limited to the value of the estate or of the property acquired by each beneficiary of the estate, according to whether the claim is to be recovered from the estate or from the beneficiaries thereof.
Article 12—Measures of conservancy
At the request of the applicant State, the requested State shall, with a view to the recovery of an amount of tax, take measures of conservancy even if the claim is contested or is not yet the subject of an instrument permitting enforcement.
Article 13—Documents accompanying the request
2. The instrument permitting enforcement in the applicant State shall, where appropriate and in accordance with the provisions in force in the requested State, be accepted, recognised, supplemented or replaced as soon as possible after the date of the receipt of the request for assistance, by an instrument permitting enforcement in the latter State.
Article 14—Time limits
2. Acts of recovery carried out by the requested State in pursuance of a request for assistance, which, according to the laws of that State, would have the effect of suspending or interrupting the period mentioned in paragraph 1, shall also have this effect under the laws of the applicant State. The requested State shall inform the applicant State about such acts.
Article 16—Deferral of payment
Section III—Service of documents
Article 17—Service of documents
1. At the request of the applicant State, the requested State shall serve upon the addressee documents, including those relating to judicial decisions, which emanate from the applicant State and which relate to a tax covered by this Convention.
5. When a document is served in accordance with this article, it need not be accompanied by a translation. However, where it is satisfied that the addressee cannot understand the language of the document, the requested State shall arrange to have it translated into or a summary drafted in its or one of its official languages. Alternatively, it may ask the applicant State to have the document either translated into or accompanied by a summary in one of the official languages of the requested State, the Council of Europe or the OECD.
Provisions relating to all forms of assistance
Article 18—Information to be provided by the applicant State
Article 20—Response to the request for assistance
3. If, with respect to a request for information, the applicant State has specified the form in which it wishes the information to be supplied and the requested State is in a position to do so, the requested State shall supply it in the form requested.
Article 21—Protection of persons and limits to the obligation to provide assistance
3. If information is requested by the applicant State in accordance with this Convention, the requested State shall use its information gathering measures to obtain the requested information, even though the requested State may not need such information for its own tax purposes. The obligation contained in the preceding sentence is subject to the limitations contained in this Convention, but in no case shall such limitations, including in particular those of paragraphs 1 and 2, be construed to permit a requested State to decline to supply information solely because it has no domestic interest in such information.
4. In no case shall the provisions of this Convention, including in particular those of paragraphs 1 and 2, be construed to permit a requested State to decline to supply information solely because the information is held by a bank, other financial institution, nominee or person acting in an agency or a fiduciary capacity or because it relates to ownership interests in a person.
1. Any information obtained by a Party under this Convention shall be treated as secret and protected in the same manner as information obtained under the domestic law of that Party and, to the extent needed to ensure the necessary level of protection of personal data, in accordance with the safeguards which may be specified by the supplying Party as required under its domestic law.
2. Such information shall in any case be disclosed only to persons or authorities (including courts and administrative or supervisory bodies) concerned with the assessment, collection or recovery of, the enforcement or prosecution in respect of, or the determination of appeals in relation to, taxes of that Party, or the oversight of the above. Only the persons or authorities mentioned above may use the information and then only for such purposes. They may, notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph 1, disclose it in public court proceedings or in judicial decisions relating to such taxes.
3. If a Party has made a reservation provided for in sub-paragraph a. of paragraph 1 of Article 30, any other Party obtaining information from that Party shall not use it for the purpose of a tax in a category subject to the reservation. Similarly, the Party making such a reservation shall not use information obtained under this Convention for the purpose of a tax in a category subject to the reservation.
4. Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraphs 1, 2 and 3, information received by a Party may be used for other purposes when such information may be used for such other purposes under the laws of the supplying Party and the competent authority of that Party authorises such use. Information provided by a Party to another Party may be transmitted by the latter to a third Party, subject to prior authorisation by the competent authority of the first-mentioned Party.
2. Proceedings relating to measures taken under this Convention by the applicant State, in particular those which, in the field of recovery, concern the existence or the amount of the tax claim or the instrument permitting its enforcement, shall be brought only before the appropriate body of that State. If such proceedings are brought, the applicant State shall inform the requested State which shall suspend the procedure pending the decision of the body in question. However, the requested State shall, if asked by the applicant State, take measures of conservancy to safeguard recovery. The requested State can also be informed of such proceedings by any interested person. Upon receipt of such information the requested State shall consult on the matter, if necessary, with the applicant State.
3. As soon as a final decision in the proceedings has been given, the requested State or the applicant State, as the case may be, shall notify the other State of the decision and the implications which it has for the request for assistance.
Article 24—Implementation of the Convention
2. Where the requested State considers that the application of this Convention in a particular case would have serious and undesirable consequences, the competent authorities of the requested and of the applicant State shall consult each other and endeavour to resolve the situation by mutual agreement.
3. A co-ordinating body composed of representatives of the competent authorities of the Parties shall monitor the implementation and development of this Convention, under the aegis of the OECD. To that end, the co-ordinating body shall recommend any action likely to further the general aims of the Convention. In particular it shall act as a forum for the study of new methods and procedures to increase international co-operation in tax matters and, where appropriate, it may recommend revisions or amendments to the Convention. States which have signed but not yet ratified, accepted or approved the Convention are entitled to be represented at the meetings of the co-ordinating body as observers.
6. The Secretary General of OECD shall inform the Parties, and the Signatory States which have not yet ratified, accepted or approved the Convention, of opinions furnished by the co-ordinating body according to the provisions of paragraph 4 above and of mutual agreements reached under paragraph 5 above.
Article 27—Other international agreements or arrangements
1. The possibilities of assistance provided by this Convention do not limit, nor are they limited by, those contained in existing or future international agreements or other arrangements between the Parties concerned or other instruments which relate to co-operation in tax matters.
2. Notwithstanding paragraph 1, those Parties which are member States of the European Union can apply, in their mutual relations, the possibilities of assistance provided for by the Convention in so far as they allow a wider co-operation than the possibilities offered by the applicable European Union rules.
Article 28—Signature and entry into force of the Convention
1. This Convention shall be open for signature by the member States of the Council of Europe and the member countries of OECD. It is subject to ratification, acceptance or approval. Instruments of ratification, acceptance or approval shall be deposited with one of the Depositaries.
3. In respect of any member State of the Council of Europe or any member country of OECD which subsequently expresses its consent to be bound by it, the Convention shall enter into force on the first day of the month following the expiration of a period of three months after the date of the deposit of the instrument of ratification, acceptance or approval.
4. Any member State of the Council of Europe or any member country of OECD which becomes a Party to the Convention after the entry into force of the Protocol amending this Convention, opened for signature on 27th May 2010 (the
“2010 Protocol”), shall be a Party to the Convention as amended by that Protocol, unless they express a different intention in a written communication to one of the Depositaries.
5. After the entry into force of the 2010 Protocol, any State which is not a member of the Council of Europe or of the OECD may request to be invited to sign and ratify this Convention as amended by the 2010 Protocol. Any request to this effect shall be addressed to one of the Depositaries, who shall transmit it to the Parties. The Depositary shall also inform the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe and the OECD Council. The decision to invite States which so request to become Party to this Convention shall be taken by consensus by the Parties to the Convention through the co-ordinating body. In respect of any State ratifying the Convention as amended by the 2010 Protocol in accordance with this paragraph, this Convention shall enter into force on the first day of the month following the expiration of a period of three months after the date of deposit of the instrument of ratification with one of the Depositaries.
6. The provisions of this Convention, as amended by the 2010 Protocol, shall have effect for administrative assistance related to taxable periods beginning on or after 1 January of the year following the one in which the Convention, as amended by the 2010 Protocol, entered into force in respect of a Party, or where there is no taxable period, for administrative assistance related to charges to tax arising on or after 1 January of the year following the one in which the Convention, as amended by the 2010 Protocol, entered into force in respect of a Party. Any two or more Parties may mutually agree that the Convention, as amended by the 2010 Protocol, shall have effect for administrative assistance related to earlier taxable periods or charges to tax.
7. Notwithstanding paragraph 6, for tax matters involving intentional conduct which is liable to prosecution under the criminal laws of the applicant Party, the provisions of this Convention, as amended by the 2010 Protocol, shall have effect from the date of entry into force in respect of a Party in relation to earlier taxable periods or charges to tax.
Article 29—Territorial application of the Convention
1. Each State may, at the time of signature, or when depositing its instrument of ratification, acceptance or approval, specify the territory or territories to which this Convention shall apply.
2. Any State may, at any later date, by a declaration addressed to one of the Depositaries, extend the application of this Convention to any other territory specified in the declaration. In respect of such territory the Convention shall enter into force on the first day of the month following the expiration of a period of three months after the date of receipt of such declaration by the Depositary.
3. Any declaration made under either of the two preceding paragraphs may, in respect of any territory specified in such declaration, be withdrawn by a notification addressed to one of the Depositaries. The withdrawal shall become effective on the first day of the month following the expiration of a period of three months after the date of receipt of such notification by the Depositary.
1. Any State may, at the time of signature or when depositing its instrument of ratification, acceptance or approval or at any later date, declare that it reserves the right:
b. not to provide assistance in the recovery of any tax claim, or in the recovery of an administrative fine, for all taxes or only for taxes in one or more of the categories listed in paragraph 1 of Article 2;
c. not to provide assistance in respect of any tax claim, which is in existence at the date of entry into force of the Convention in respect of that State or, where a reservation has previously been made under sub-paragraph a. or b. above, at the date of withdrawal of such a reservation in relation to taxes in the category in question;
f. to apply paragraph 7 of Article 28 exclusively for administrative assistance related to taxable periods beginning on or after 1 January of the third year preceding the one in which the Convention, as amended by the 2010 Protocol, entered into force in respect of a Party, or where there is no taxable period, for administrative assistance related to charges to tax arising on or after 1 January of the third year preceding the one in which the Convention, as amended by the 2010 Protocol, entered into force in respect of a Party.
3. After the entry into force of the Convention in respect of a Party, that Party may make one or more of the reservations listed in paragraph 1 which it did not make at the time of ratification, acceptance or approval. Such reservations shall enter into force on the first day of the month following the expiration of a period of three months after the date of receipt of the reservation by one of the Depositaries.
5. A Party which has made a reservation in respect of a provision of this Convention may not require the application of that provision by any other Party; it may, however, if its reservation is partial, require the application of that provision insofar as it has itself accepted it.
Article 32—Depositaries and their functions
1. The Depositary with whom an act, notification or communication has been accomplished, shall notify the member States of the Council of Europe and the member countries of OECD and any Party to this Convention of:
Done at Strasbourg, the 25th day of January 1988, in English and French, both texts being equally authentic, in two copies of which one shall be deposited in the archives of the Council of Europe and the other in the archives of OECD. The Secretaries General of the Council of Europe and of OECD shall transmit certified copies to each member State of the Council of Europe and of the member countries of OECD.