OECD lists the least tax transparent nations
Luxembourg, Cyprus, the British Virgin Islands and the Seychelles do not meet the international standards on tax transparency, according to a report by the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) published Friday.
The OECD rated 50 countries and jurisdictions on their tax transparency after calling for greater international co-operation against tax evasion.
Luxembourg, Cyprus, the British Virgin Islands and the Seychelles were listed as "non-compliant," while Austria and Turkey were rated "partially compliant."
Non-compliant territories failed to share taxpayer information with other countries effectively, or did not gather information on corporations registered on their territory, according to the OECD's ratings.
(Read more: Tax evasion dangerous for Europe: Schulz)
The U.K. and the U.S. were listed as "largely compliant" – but came in behind countries including Canada, China, France, India and Japan, which were ranked "compliant."
Following a meeting of the OECD's transparency forum in Jakarta, Indonesia, the country's finance minister Muhammad Chatib Basri said: "At a time where most economies are extremely fragile, having so many jurisdictions working together and agreeing on very sensitive outcomes to improve international tax cooperation is key and extremely positive. I have no doubt that this is the kick-off to a new era in the global tax environment."
The OECD has focused on tax evasion and avoidance by both companies and countries in recent times.
Last month, the organization published letters it had received from European companies including Diageo and Gazprom, and groups representing U.S. multinationals, asking it to reconsider proposed measures to tackle tax avoidance, arguing the plans could hit trade and investment.
British Prime Minister David Cameron also announced last month that he would make public a new database of company ownership details designed to expose tax evasion schemes.
The OECD forum, called the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes, agreed to create a new Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI) Group in an effort to move towards the adoption of AEOI.
In a response to Reuters, the British Virgin Islands' Financial Secretary Neil Smith said that the OECD's rating did not reflect the practices of his country since 2012. "Unfortunately this classification misses the mark," he said. "It does not give an accurate reflection of the standards of tax information sharing found in the BVI.''
A statement from Luxembourg's Ministry of Finance said the country "considers this rating to be excessively harsh."
"Particularly in view of the Global Forum's previous observations with regard to the legal and regulatory framework put in place by Luxembourg," it said. "Based around this legal and regulatory framework, Luxembourg has made a commitment to exchange information effectively and has extensive experience when it comes to exchanging information for tax purposes."
Representatives from both the Seychelles and Cyprus were not immediately available for comment when contacted by CNBC.