THE COUNCIL,

HAVING REGARD to Article 5 b) of the Convention for Economic Co-operation and Development of 14 December 1960;

HAVING REGARD to the Recommendation of the Council of 21 September 1977 on Tax Avoidance and Evasion [C(77)149/FINAL];

HAVING REGARD to the Recommendation of the Council of 23 September 1980 concerning a Standardised form for Automatic Exchange of Information under International Tax Agreements [C(81)39/FINAL];

HAVING REGARD to the Recommendation of the Council of 23 July 1992 concerning an OECD Standard Magnetic Format for Automatic Exchange of Information under International Tax Agreements [C(92)50/FINAL];

HAVING REGARD to the Recommendation of the Council of 13 March 1997 on the Use of Tax Identification Numbers in an International Context [C(97)29/FINAL];

CONSIDERING that most Conventions on Income and on Capital signed by Member countries follow Article 26 of the OECD Model Convention on Income and Capital in providing for co-operation between competent authorities of the Contracting States, in the form of exchanges of information necessary for carrying out the Convention or of their domestic laws concerning taxes covered by the Convention;

CONSIDERING that the joint Council of Europe/OECD Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters came into force on 1 April 1995;

CONSIDERING that the Council instructed the Committee on Fiscal Affairs to keep under review the use of the 1992 OECD Standard Magnetic Format;

CONSIDERING that the experience with the OECD Standard Magnetic Format for automatic exchanges of information under international tax agreements has been positive and made clear the need for improvements in the Standard Magnetic Format;

CONSIDERING that these improvements will facilitate the finalisation of the design of a new standard for electronic exchange of tax information;

I.          RECOMMENDS to Members:

a)     To use the revised OECD Standard Magnetic Format in appendix hereto, which is an integral part of this Recommendation, when making automatic exchanges of information concerning income realised as of the tax year 1997 and the subsequent years;

b)    To discontinue using the OECD Standard Magnetic Format included in the Recommendation of the Council [C(92)50/FINAL] of 23 July 1992 for exchanges concerning tax years 1997 and following.

II.         INSTRUCTS the Committee on Fiscal Affairs to keep under review the use of the revised Standard Format and to report back to the Council as appropriate.