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April 03, 2009

G20 Agrees to "Sanction" Tax-Havens Which Won't Share Tax Information


Tax havens that refuse to share information with other countries will face "sanctions" under an agreement being thrashed out at the G20 summit on Thursday, a British finance minister said.

"I am expecting there to be sanctions against countries that don't sign up," Stephen Timms, financial secretary to the Treasury, told reporters on the sidelines of the summit in London.

"In due course there will be a list produced of countries that don't sign up... what's being discussed today is the timing, he said, promising: "The era of banking secrecy is over."

European officials at the summit have expressed concern that China is blocking plans to publish a list of countries that fail to comply with tax-sharing agreements.

Timms said that while the Group of 20 developed and developing nations had made "a very remarkable start" to cracking down on tax havens and unregulated offshore jurisdictions, there was a long way to go.
"We do now need to see tax information agreements signed. There is a lot of work to be done," he said.

Not sure what to think about this. I think the suspicion is, of course, that such tax havens are being used to dodge taxation on money actually made in another country, which ought to be taxed.

And before you object to the way I put that -- if I can't dodge taxes by declaring myself a Cayman Islands corporation, why should anyone else? If you really are a Cayman Islands corporation, sure. But the suspicion is that the money is not being earned there, by and large, but merely recognized there.

Lorien tipped this, stating that he was shocked that no conservative blog had mentioned it. Well, I'm mentioning it, but I don't know the tax codes well enough to know if this is an overstep.

Anyone better informed care to shed light?

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posted by Ace at 04:49 PM

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