International Cooperation in Tax Matters
On March 12, 2009, the outgoing and incoming Prime Ministers together with the Prince of Liechtenstein issued an historic Declaration committing the country to global standards of transparency and exchange of information as developed by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
In May of 2009 the OECD removed Liechtenstein from its list of uncooperative tax havens.
On November 11, 2009 the OECD recognized Liechtenstein as a jurisdiction which has implemented international cooperation standards regarding cases of taxation, removing Liechtenstein from its "grey list" of jurisdictions deemed not to have sufficiently implemented international cooperation standards in tax matters. This was accomplished through Liechtenstein's growing number of bilateral Double Taxation Agreements (DTA) and Tax Information Exchange Agreements (TIEA) including one with the United States that went into effect on January 1, 2010.
In November of 2013 Liechtenstein issued a Government Declaration on international tax cooperation agreeing to implement applicable standards of administrative assistance with all contracting states of the OECD and committing to automatic information exchange of tax information based on future OECD standards.
International Engagement in Financial Oversight
In addition to Liechtenstein's bilateral agreements addressing financial crimes, Liechtenstein's foreign policy pays great attention to the development and international enforcement of uniform rules to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism. At the national level, numerous measures have been taken in recent years.
Liechtenstein is a State Party of the Convention of 8 November 1990 on Laundering, Search, Seizure and Confiscation of the Proceeds from Crime (Strasbourg Convention). As a member of the Council of Europe, Liechtenstein actively participates in the work of the Select Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures (Moneyval). Using the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF) as a model, this committee evaluates the implementation of the 40 FATF recommendations against money laundering and of the Strasbourg Convention in those member States of the Council of Europe that are not members of FATF.
In order to promote the worldwide implementation of the FATF standards, Liechtenstein also supports the Global Programme against Money Laundering (GPML) of the United Nations with financial contributions. An important thrust of this program is technical support in establishing effective Financial Intelligence Units in less-developed financial centers. Specialists from Liechtenstein also contribute their expertise to this activity.
Liechtenstein strongly condemns all acts of terrorism, irrespective of their motivation, wherever and by whoever committed. Liechtenstein has ratified all 13 universal counter-terrorism treaties and the amendments thereto, and cooperates with the relevant UN bodies to the fullest extent possible. In this regard, Liechtenstein has an active relationship with the UN's Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC). Liechtenstein has also expressed its willingness to make financial expertise available to the CTC and to render technical support to other States in implementing counter-terrorism standards.
Cooperation with the European Union
Liechtenstein has ratified financial regulatory mechanisms agreed to with the European Union. These include:
2005 Savings Tax Agreement: Since 2005 Liechtenstein has incorporated the EU Savings Tax Directive, which levies a withholding tax on interest income and transfers a significant share thereof to the European domiciles of Liechtenstein bank clients. Within the scope of the Agreement, Liechtenstein is required to grant administrative assistance upon request in the case of tax fraud and similar offenses.
Schengen Agreement: In January 2009, Liechtenstein ratified the Protocol on its accession to the EU Schengen Agreement, which, among other things, establishes a framework for law enforcement cooperation among its members, including the use of coercive measures such as searches of business premises, confiscation of documents and questioning of employees. The Agreement also covers mutual legal assistance in tax matters and will enter into force after ratification by the EU.
EU Anti-Fraud Agreement (AFA): Negotiations of the AFA were substantially completed in 2008 and, in addition to strengthening information exchange on both direct and indirect taxes, provides for cooperation among the various countries' tax and law enforcement authorities, based on the rules applicable among EU member states. Notably, the AFA includes a provision that states that banking confidentiality laws cannot hinder tax information exchange. Liechtenstein has repeated its willingness to conclude the AFA, even on the basis of the OECD standards as recently requested by some EU member states. Final approval of the signing of the AFA is now dependent on approval by EU member states.