Archived - Backgrounder: Protocol amending the Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters

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The Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters and the Protocol amending it are the result of work carried out jointly by the Council of Europe and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The objective is to promote international co-operation between tax authorities to improve the application of the domestic tax laws of the signatory countries, while respecting the fundamental rights of taxpayers, such as the protection of the confidentiality of taxpayers’ information.

The Convention will enter into force in Canada only after it has been tabled in Parliament and ratified.

The original Convention was concluded in 1988 and entered into force on April 1, 1995, before the adoption of the latest internationally agreed standard on the exchange of tax information as developed by the OECD. For that reason, the exchange of tax information under the Convention could have been subject to existing limitations in certain countries’ domestic laws. The inclusion of the OECD standard by the Protocol removes such limitations and ensures that neither bank secrecy laws nor domestic interest requirements (i.e. that a country needs to have a domestic interest in the tax information being requested by the other country to provide information) can prevent the effective exchange of tax information.