OECD-møte i Oslo: informasjonsutveksling av skatteopplysninger

Skattedirektør Hans Christian Holte holdt  sammen med finansminister Siv Jensen åpningsinnlegg på et stort internasjonalt OECD-møte i Oslo mandag 20. juni. Tema for møtet er informasjonsutveksling mellom ulike land og kontroll av at de overholder sine forpliktelser til internasjonale standarder på området.

Les mer på Finansdepartements hjemmeside.

Skattedirektørens tale kan du lese her:

Skattedirektør Hans Christian Holte på OECD-møte i Oslo

Skattedirektør Hans Christian Holte

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.

I would like to add a warm welcome to the Finance Minister’s. It’s an honour and a pleasure for us in the Norwegian Tax Administration to be able to host you here for this important meeting.

We are here to continue the good work which has been going on for several years now, in the OECD Global Forum and the Peer Review Group, as part of our joint efforts to address tax evasion. We are working for the same goals, and have had many meetings: working together to improve transparency and more efficient exchange of information.

Every country’s tax authority can benefit from improvements in these areas. These improvements help to create a fair and level playing field internationally and, they can help us all with collecting the correct tax in our own countries.

The Peer Review Group has a serious task ahead this week. This is the culmination of a lot of preparation and review work and you are now going to go through the current batch of assessment reports, for several jurisdictions.

As always, you will be diligently checking whether members have been successful with putting in place the international standards that they have committed to. You assess both formality and reality: checking that there is a proper legal framework, and also whether this is happening in practice. So the member jursidiction is actually implementing good exchange of information routines.

Global Forum also provides assistance when that is requested. This makes it easier to improve legal frameworks and exchange of information practice, for those jurisdictions who are committed to taking further action.

All of this work makes a noticeable difference. We have already seen evidence of the impact for jurisdictions that were rated as «non-compliant» just a few years ago. They have worked hard to improve their laws and information exchange practice, and are now rated as either «largely compliant» or «compliant». This is a positive outcome for the jurisdiction, which benefits from greater transparency. It gains access to better tax revenues too, with the help of this shared information.

Just as important, though, is that each new compliant member makes the global infrastructure better, and expands the international network of relations for exchange of information. For the benefit of all members.

We know from our own experience that this works. As the Finance Minister mentioned, information exchange provides a useful tool which makes our job easier. I am pleased to say that when we request information, the replies are coming back to us more quickly than before.

The quality, amount, timeliness and efficiency of data have greatly improved, even during the last few years. We can obtain and use information today, that we could only have dreamed of ten years ago. It is an important help in our work and I know it is helping other jurisdictions too.

The Global Forum has been a really important driver for some partners which did not have so many information exchange agreements previously. These members have received assistance in developing solid legal framework and their organisation around information exchange. In fact, some of these jurisdictions have become extremely good at this, particularly when it comes to the timeliness and quality of the reply.

Laws are improving and information is becoming more easily available: bank, accounting and ownership information. Corporate secrecy is getting harder.

Of course there is still work to do. Some countries still have too few exchange-of-information-on-request relationships, and more requests could be made. For example, some jurisdictions are missing out on the opportunity to use this global infrastructure as a supplement in their audit and transfer pricing work. Requests for information could help them on the road to the right tax recoveries. It helps us. Our aim must be that all countries participate in the benefits of exchanging information.
Thank you to the Global Forum’s Peer Review Group for leading this work. The Norwegian Tax Administration is very happy to contribute to the Peer Review Group, together with the Norwegian Ministry of Finance.
Norway actively provides input on the reports and feedback about our experience of exchanging information with other jurisdictions. And Norway will be under the spotlight to undergo a peer review, very soon.

But first back to Oslo.

I must say, you have come at the right time of year. In contrast to our dark and cold wintertime, you will experience long and light summer days. The longest and lightest day of the year is tomorrow. About half of Norway is even experiencing the famous midnight sun this month. We happen to be in the other half… about 800 kilometers south of the Arctic Circle.
Anyway, I hope the light evenings and mornings will give you the chance to go out and see a bit of the city.
Thank you for your attention and all your hard work.

I hope you have an enjoyable and productive business week. Good luck!