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On April 21, Australia’s Assistant Treasurer, Nick Sherry, and Vanuatu's Finance Minister, Sela Molisa, signed a tax information exchange agreement (TIEA) between their two countries.
The TIEA conforms to the internationally-agreed Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development standard for the exchange of information upon request for tax purposes. It will give the countries’ tax authorities a greater ability to exchange taxpayer information. It covers all federal Australian taxes, and all taxes in Vanuatu.
It also provides that neither tax authority can refuse to provide information solely because it does not require the information for its own domestic purposes, or because the information is held by a bank or similar institution.
"The Australia-Vanuatu TIEA we have signed today provides a legal basis for the bilateral exchange of information for both civil and criminal tax purposes," Sherry said. “Australia is pleased to welcome Vanuatu to our expanding network of global TIEA partners. Vanuatu is Australia's 24th tax treaty partner and one the most important. Vanuatu is an important neighbour to Australia and a key financial jurisdiction in the Pacific."
"The signing of this agreement is a significant achievement that indicates both countries' commitment to improving the integrity of the international tax system," he continued. "This agreement will provide valuable information regarding the substantial flow of funds between both countries."
"We look forward to further enhancing our already strong relationship as we work towards our common goal of improving transparency in the Pacific region," he added. "The signing of this agreement demonstrates Vanuatu's commitment to international tax standards."
Both countries have committed to enact any legislation necessary to comply with the terms of the TIEA. It will enter into force after Australia and Vanuatu have completed their respective domestic requirements, and will then have effect from January 1, 2011.A comprehensive report in our Intelligence Report series, examining in depth the situation of offshore transparency and secrecy in a number of the most prominent jurisdictions, is available in the Lowtax Library at http://www.lowtaxlibrary.com/asp/subs_reports.asp and a description of the report can be seen at http://www.lowtaxlibrary.com/asp/description_report2.asp
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