(Dec. 4, 2009) On November 11, 2009, the Principality of Liechtenstein announced that the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is taking Liechtenstein off the “Grey List” of countries complying with OECD standards on the exchange of tax information. (Press Release, OECD erkennt Liechtensteins Umsetzung des internationalen Steuerkooperationsstandards an (Nov. 11, 2009), available at http://www.liechtenstein.li/eliechtenstein_main_sites/portal_fuerstentum
_liechtenstein/fl-med-infos-medien/fl-med-pressemeldungen-skoe.htm.) This new status of Liechtenstein is shown on the November 27 revision of the OECD's lists on the status of compliance with international tax cooperation standards that places Liechtenstein among the “jurisdictions that have substantially implemented the internationally agreed tax standard.” (A Progress Report on the Jurisdictions Surveyed by the OECD Global Forum in Implementing the Internationally Agreed Tax Standard, Nov. 30, 2009, available at http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/50/0/43606256.pdf.)
Liechtenstein commenced the process of improving its image on tax cooperation in March 2009, by declaring to the OECD its intent to work toward more substantial cooperation. (The Liechtenstein Declaration, Mar. 12, 2009, available at http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/47/42/42826280.pdf.) Since then, Liechtenstein has lived up to this commitment by signing 12 treaties on the exchange of tax information with other countries, among them an agreement with Germany. (German-Liechtenstein Exchange of Information Treaty (2009) [signed Sept. 2, 2009], available at http://ip-online.ibfd.org/data/treaty/docs/html/tt_de-li_40_ger_2009_tt.
html#tt_de-li_40_ger_2009_tt.) This agreement with Germany lives up to the exchange of information standards of article 26 of the OECD Model Tax Convention (OECD, Articles of the Model Convention with Respect to Taxes on Income and on Capital [as of July 17, 2008], available at http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/43/57/42219418.pdf). In essence, this standard, which is contained in all the new Liechtenstein cooperation agreements, calls for exchange of information when there is suspicion of tax evasion, even if the conduct is not criminal according to Liechtenstein law. (Martina Simon, Steuerhinterziehung: Letzte Zuflucht, FOCUS-MONEY, Nov. 25, 2009, at 68, LEXIS/NEXIS, NEWS Library, 14days File.)