Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Global Crackdown On Offshore Secret Tax Accounts Yields €37 Billion
Tue., July 22, 2014
Governments across the world have collected more than €37bn of tax from secret offshore accounts since 2009, it emerged on Monday as new details were unveiled of the next phase of the global crackdown on tax evasion, the Financial Times reported. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development published its global standard for automatic information exchange, aimed at removing the secrecy that provides evaders with safe havens for their cash. The new rules on automatic information exchange are the latest move by governments mounting a concerted attack on evasion in the wake of the global financial crisis and a series of tax scandals. “Today’s launch moves us closer to a world in which tax cheats have nowhere left to hide,” said Angel Gurría, OECD secretary-general. The Paris-based OECD said “vast” amounts of untaxed money was kept offshore but more than half a million taxpayers had already taken advantage of voluntary disclosure programmes – which offer reduced penalties to taxpayers admitting to secret offshore accounts. The €37bn collected through the disclosure schemes offered by a range of countries including the US, France and UK was a sign that the crackdown on bank secrecy has already had a big impact, it said. Since 2009, tax authorities have been able to request information about offshore accounts but only in cases where they have grounds for suspicion. The move to automatic information exchange which begins in 2017 will make it much easier for the authorities to track down tax cheats.