British territories sign deal on tax information

Cayman ISlands The Cayman Islands will in future share information on taxes with the UK and other countries

Bermuda and other British overseas territories with financial centres have signed agreements on sharing tax information, the Treasury has said.

The move follows similar recent deals with Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man.

The move is aimed at tracking down banking clients who escape paying taxes by hiding their money overseas.

It comes amid an international drive against tax evasion and the use of tax havens.

Sharing names


Just a few years ago, the idea of Bermuda or the Cayman Islands sharing information with the British tax authorities would have seemed far fetched.

But a lot has changed as a result of growing frustration in developed economies about perceived tax evasion.

By March this year, the Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey had agreed to a greater automatic information exchange with the UK. And now the ink is drying on a deal with the Overseas Territories.

What's more the sharing of bank account details will be with France, Germany, Italy and Spain as well.

Tax transparency campaigners have welcomed the news.

Though they argue the merit of these agreements will only be proved if details of the names behind trusts and company name plates can be provided by these financial centres to the UK's HMRC.

In theory the move should boost tax income for the Treasury.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), whose members include the UK and most developed economies, has led the way.

Other British overseas territories involved include the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Anguilla, Montserrat and the Turks and Caicos Islands .

They will pass on bank account details, such as names, addresses, dates of birth, account numbers, account balances and payment details.

They will share data with both the UK tax authorities and those in France, Germany, Italy and Spain.

The UK recently reached agreements with Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man.

Those deals were welcomed at the time by the Tax Justice campaign group, though it said the true test was whether the ownership of companies and trusts would be revealed.

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