The Prime Minister has written to the leaders of Britain’s offshore tax havens about their role in ‘getting the UK house in order’ ahead of next month’s G8 meeting which is expected to make tackling aggressive tax avoidance a priority report Northampton accountants Harris & Co.
David Cameron’s letter was sent to Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Gibraltar, Anguilla, Montserrat, Turks and Caicos Islands, Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man.
Cameron said he wanted to see the heads of these crown dependencies and overseas territories work with the UK on what he called the ‘two critical issues’ of tax information exchange and beneficial ownership. He pledges the G8 summit will ‘knock down the walls of company secrecy’.
The letter says that ‘lower taxes are only sustainable if what is owed is actually paid - and if the rules to achieve this are set and enforced fairly to create a level playing field right across the world. There is no point in dealing with tax evasion in one country if the problem is simply displaced to another.’
Cameron praises those countries who have signed up for automatic tax information exchange, and calls for all the countries contacted to commit to joining the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Assistance in Tax Matters.
The Prime Minister also wants them to give public commitments to produce action plans on beneficial ownership, and says it is critical that these have the right content.
The letter says such plans ‘will need to provide for fully resourced and properly managed centralised registries, that are freely available to law enforcement and tax collectors, and contain full and accurate details on the true ownership and control of every company.’
Cameron concludes by saying the G8 summit offers ‘a real opportunity to set the global standard on transparency - and I am confident the overseas territories and crown dependencies will rise to the challenge’.
As Nigel Farage, head of UKIP points out, the Prime Minister ought to look nearer to home for blatant tax avoidance - EU officials enjoy salaries over over £100000 each and only pay tax at 12%!!!