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Asia-Pacific nations to cooperate on tax

22nd December 2014

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Tax harmonisation across the Asia-Pacific region moved a step closer in December after nation states agreed to closer cooperation.

The 44th annual Study Group on Asian Tax Administration and Research (SGATAR) showed strong appetite for cross-border tax collaboration and a taskforce is to be established to further this aim. It will support collaboration on tax issues and help create robust tax systems in each jurisdiction, the Australian Taxation Office said in a statement after the event in Sydney.

“This taskforce will help the 17 SGATAR countries more effectively work together as they address issues facing us all, including profit shifting by multinationals,” ATO commissioner Chris Jordan said. Previously the members met once a year, but the taskforce offers year-round support to members, he explained.

It comes against a backdrop of OECD and G20 efforts on information sharing and transparency in tax systems.

“Globally, there is powerful and unprecedented international collaboration to ensure taxes are paid where profits are earned,” added Mr Jordan. “This taskforce will give administrations in the Asia-Pacific a platform to play a significant role and contribute to international forums, such as the OECD.”

The taskforce will also be used to coordinate information sharing, cross-jurisdictional compliance action and get support to implement important initiatives such as automatic exchange of information.

The meeting saw technical working groups on base erosion and profit shifting, the operation of multinational entities, and seamless exchange of information and the use of bulk data.

Members of the group: Australia, Cambodia, People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong SAR, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Macao SAR, Malaysia, Mongolia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, The Philippines, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, Vietnam. Combined these countries account for more than a quarter of world GDP, with this expected to rise to 35 per cent by 2030.

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