Magazine article New Internationalist

Tax Haven Stand-Off

Magazine article New Internationalist

Tax Haven Stand-Off

Article excerpt

BRITAIN

The last week of November could see a showdown between the British government and the tax havens over which it has ultimate control - islands such as Bermuda, the Caymans and the British Virgin Islands.

The likely row will centre around demands for the islands to be less secretive about who has money in their banks.

Ministers from the islands - which are collectively known as Britain's Overseas Territories - are coming to London on 26 and 27 November for their customary annual meeting.

Growing international concern about the damage done by tax evasion, corruption and money laundering has increased pressure on the Territories to be more open.

Greater transparency is key to helping other countries detect and deter the tax evaders and other criminals who drain public services of billions in much-needed funding.

The global super-rich have $20 trillion hidden in tax havens, according to one estimate made by the Tax Justice Network.

In June, the British government announced that the Territories had agreed to sign up to an international law, which commits governments to share information with each other about money held in their countries by foreign taxpayers. The snappily titled 'Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters' would enable revenue authorities to trace foreign accounts. …

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