oecdAt the beginning of last week the Cypriot Finance Ministry was not happy with the rating that the OECD (Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development) gave to Cyprus on tax transparency, saying the efforts Cyprus has made ‘warranted a higher rating being assigned’. However Cyprus was not alone Luxembourg, Switzerland, the British Virgin Islands and the Seychelles all fell short on their tax administration according to the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes, which is overseen by the OECD. The forum clams that failure to share taxpayer information with other countries effectively and or the failure to collect information on who benefited from ownership of corporations within their borders, were the main course for concern. Reforming its financial system was part of the conditions Cyprus was given at the beginning of this year in order to receive aid for its banks from the European Union. Cyprus was criticized particularly by German lawmakers who believe Cyprus to be a tax haven for wealthy Russians. The most inefficient bank was forced to close, and the second problematic bank the ‘Bank of Cyprus’ took a percentage of depositor’s savings and converted them to equity, which the government agreed to in order to obtain the aforementioned aid. The Bank of Cyprus now has on its board a large number of Russians as they were the major depositors. The Cypriot Finance Ministry released a statement saying that the forum had not taken into account 2012 legislative changes to improve information available on companies, and that it did not take into consideration how Cyprus had to cope with high demand for information from other jurisdictions. The Ministry was quoted as saying for the 2014 assessment the Global Forum would see ‘very significant improvement’.