The taxman has had yet another dramatic breakthrough in its attempt to clamp down on tax evasion through the use of offshore bank accounts. Some key British Overseas Territories (ex-colonies with a large degree of self-government) have agreed to greater levels of transparency – including revealing banking details.
The countries involved are The Cayman Islands; Anguilla; Bermuda; the British Virgin Islands; Montserrat; and the Turks & Caicos Islands.
Until recently these countries were considered to be key tax havens, and impregnable fortresses of banking secrecy. They have now agreed to pilot an automatic exchange of information with the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain. These countries will be automatically given bank account information held by their taxpayers, including names; addresses; dates of birth; account numbers; account balances; and details of payments made into those accounts. They will also be given information on bank accounts held by entities, such as trusts.
Gibraltar has also made the same commitments.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer said: “This represents a significant step forward in the fight against tax evasion”.
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