(Jan. 12, 2010) On December 18, 2009, the Federal Council (Bundesrat), the chamber representing the states in the Austrian legislature, approved the resolutions of the National Council (Nationalrat, representative chamber of the Austrian legislature) that ratified agreement-amending protocols or agreements relating to the exchange of information in tax matters (Bundesrat, 780th Session, Parliament of the Republic of Austria website, Dec. 18, 2009, available at http://www.parlament.gv.at/PG/DE/BR/BRSITZ/BRSITZ_00780/TO_01450478.shtm
l). Four of these agreements, ones dealing only with the exchange of tax information, were concluded with Andorra, Gibraltar, Monaco, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Austria does not have double taxation treaties with these countries. Ten of the agreements were protocols amending existing double taxation treaties. These were concluded with Belgium, Denmark, Luxembourg, Mexico, The Netherlands, Norway, San Marino, Singapore, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.
The agreements live up to the standard of article 26 of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) model treaty (text as updated in July 2005, available at http://www.oecd.org/document/53/0,3343,en_2649_33747_33614197_1_1_1_3742
7,00.html). By concluding these more than 12 exchange of information treaties, Austria was taken off the OECD Gray List of countries not living up to appropriate tax information standards (Clemens Schindler & Eva Strunz, Austria, 56 TAX NOTES INTERNATIONAL 915 (Dec. 21, 2009), available at LEXIS online subscription database, TAXANA Library, TAXMAG File). On the current OECD compliance list, Austria is listed among the countries that have implemented the internationally agreed tax standards (A Progress Report on the Jurisdictions Surveyed by the OECD Global Forum in Implementing the Internationally Agreed Tax Standard, OECD, Dec. 23, 2009, available at http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/50/0/43606256.pdf).
In order to provide appropriate assistance in tax matters to other countries, Austria enacted the Administrative Assistance Implementation Act (Amtshilfe-Durchführungsgesetz, Sept. 8, 2009, BUNDESGESETZBLATT I, No. 102/2009, available at http://www.ris.bka.gv.at/Dokumente/BgblAuth/BGBLA_2009_I_102/BGBLA_2009_
I_102.pdf). This Act provides that assistance will be granted for administrative requests relating to tax matters, and that bank secrecy laws will not prevent the granting of information if this is so provided in an applicable treaty.