PARIS, Aug. 27 (Xinhua) -- China on Tuesday joined dozens of countries, becoming the signatory to the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters (Convention), a most comprehensive multilateral instrument available for all forms of cross-border tax cooperation between member states.
The Convention was developed by the Council of Europe and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development to facilitate international cooperation among tax authorities to improve the enforcement of national tax laws, including through tax information exchange.
It was opened for signature by the member states of both organizations on Jan. 25, 1988.
In April 2009, with international tax cooperation identified as a key means by which countries could protect public finances, the G20 called for action "to make it easier for developing countries to secure the benefits of the new cooperative tax environment, including a multilateral approach for the exchange of information."
In response, the OECD and the Council of Europe developed a Protocol amending the Convention in 2010 to bring its information exchange provisions into line with the international standard, and also to allow any country to become a Party to the Convention.
The amended Convention was opened for signature on June 1, 2011. It provides for all possible forms of administrative cooperation between states in the assessment and collection of taxes, in particular with a view to combating tax avoidance and evasion.
The key tools accessible under the Convention include exchange of information on request, spontaneous exchange of information, tax examinations abroad, simultaneous tax examinations, joint audits and the automatic exchange of information.
In November 2011, all G20 countries participated in a ceremony in Cannes, southern France, to mark the signing of the Convention.
Currently over 60 countries have either signed or expressed interest in signing the Convention, representing a wide range of countries including all G20 countries.
The Convention has now taken on increasing importance with the G20's recent call for automatic exchange of information to become the new international tax standard of exchange of information.