Friday, May 3, 2013
British Overseas Territories Sign Deal To Curb Tax Evasion
Fri., May 3, 2013
Tax havens such as Bermuda and the Cayman Islands will work more closely with Britain and other European countries to fight tax evasion, British finance minister George Osborne said Thursday, the Irish Times reported. With governments in most advanced economies short of tax revenue after the financial crisis, pressure has been growing on small territories with big banking sectors to lift bank secrecy and do more to combat tax dodging and money laundering. The United States has been in a lengthy dispute with Switzerland over the latter's bank secrecy rules, while the European Union also has turned up pressure on two of its smaller members, Austria and Luxembourg. Austria in turn has accused Britain and the United States of shielding their own tax havens. Now British overseas territories such as Bermuda, the Cayman Islands and the British Virgin Islands - which are effectively colonies with some self-government - will have to automatically provide details the ownership of bank accounts, and about how they are used, Britain's finance ministry said. The information will be shared by Britain, Germany, France, Italy and Spain, which agreed in June last year to work together to combat tax evasion.