British tax havens will disclose evader information

Several British British tax havens, including Bermuda and the Virgin Islands, have signed an agreement with London to exchange fiscal information, in order to combat tax evasion, according to the British Treasury. Anguilla, Bermuda, Montserrat British Virgin Islands and the Turks and Caicos Islands have agreed to automatically provide data of people who have bank accounts in those territories, Spanish agency Efe reports.

These territories will send to the British Treasury the names, addresses, dates of birth, the account numbers and transactions, in what represents one more effort by the British authorities to combat tax evasion. This information will be shared with Spain, France, Germany and Italy, as part of an international effort to tackle the problem of people hiding capital abroad.

Isle of Man, which already had an agreement on tax data exchange with the United Kingdom, has agreed to provide information to the four countries mentioned. British Minister of economy, George Osborne, said that this agreement marks a change in the fight against tax evasion. “This represents a significant step forward in tackling illicit finance,” said Osborne, who relies on other countries to follow the steps of these Governments to achieve a new level of transparency and against those who “seek to evade taxes”. This agreement was made public a month before the G8 (rich countries and Russia) meet in Northern Ireland as part of the current British Presidency, which wants this tax problem to be tackled in this event.

At the G 20 (rich and emerging countries G20) in London, under Gordon Brown’s government, measures against tax havens and combating international tax evasion were agreed. Experts have highlighted the difficulties to identify the people who deposited funds in accounts of these British Territories because many belong to trusts.

Last year the British Parliament Public Accounts Committee disclosed a report that described the taxation of some multinational companies that minimize the payment of taxes in the United Kingdom as “immoral”. The Committee, which came to interrogate Starbucks, Google and Amazon managers in 2012, considered that the arguments of those companies to justify their tax strategies were “little convincing” and urged the Government to “take action”.

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