International cooperation

We promote international cooperation on tax matters through a range of organisations, by building strong relationships with other revenue authorities and by developing tax information-sharing agreements with other countries.

This year, we redesigned the Commonwealth Association of Tax Administrators' Management Development Program into an interactive computer training program. The Papua New Guinea Internal Revenue Commission hosted and we co-facilitated delivery of this program.

We supported tax agencies in our region through joint training and other capability programs, such as the Strongim Gavman program to assist Papua New Guinea and capacity assistance programs with the Indonesian Directorate General of Taxes.

Supporting the OECD

During the year we contributed significantly to a number of OECD forums covering global tax risks, tax administration policy and transparency, and providing support to developing countries. Key highlights were the Forum on Tax Administration, where Australia is a vice chair, particularly in the area of assisting small business and improving voluntary compliance, as part of the OECD's 'Right from the Start' initiative.

We also provided input into the development of OECD guidelines for GST and multinational enterprises and took a leading role in promoting the inclusion of tax risks within private sector corporate governance frameworks.

Countering abusive cross-border arrangements

We work closely with partner tax administrations to counter the abusive use of tax secrecy jurisdictions and cross-border avoidance. This work includes sharing data and intelligence and working on joint programs to build our respective capabilities.

Information exchange

In 2010-11, Australia signed tax information exchange agreements with Montserrat, Mauritius and Liechtenstein. Another 12 agreements came into force during the year.

TABLE 4.9: Jurisdictions that have signed a tax information exchange agreement and entry into force during 2010-11


Entry into force








Cayman Islands




San Marino

St Kitts and Nevis

St Lucia

St Vincent and the Grenadines

Turks and Caicos Islands

Australia now has 28 tax information exchange agreements with other countries. Close to half of these agreements came into effect from 1 July 2010 or later, so their value for compliance purposes will increase over the coming years.

At 30 June 2011, we had made 22 exchange requests to agreement partners requesting taxpayer specific information. Many of these requests relate to matters arising from Project Wickenby and other serious tax avoidance and evasion matters.

More generally under the exchange of information provisions in Australia's double tax agreements, we exchanged information on 1,185 occasions in 2010-11 as follows:

  • 883 specific exchanges involving a written request to or from a treaty partner regarding information about a specific taxpayer or transaction. We requested 280 and received 603 requests
  • 159 spontaneous exchanges involving the provision of information to or from a treaty partner that has not been specifically requested, but was uncovered during an investigation. We made 57 and received 102 requests
  • 79 automatic exchanges involving annual electronic data sets to and from our treaty partners containing information on income paid to non residents for interest, dividend, unit trust distributions and foreign resident withholding tax. We received 425,000 records and sent 2 million records
  • 64 exchanges of information were made via the Joint International Tax Shelter Information Centre based in London and Washington, on abusive tax schemes, their promoters, and investors.
    Last modified: 31 Oct 2011QC 28036