Practical steps to tackle tax evasion across the globe have been agreed by the British Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies during talks that took place ahead of the G8 summit.
Following discussions at Number 10, the Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories have agreed that they will join the Multilateral Convention on the sharing of tax information.
They have also agreed to produce action plans setting out concrete steps they will take to fully implement the Finanical Aactions Task Force (FATF) standards on beneficial ownership, and ensure that this information is available to law enforcement and tax authorities.
Following discussions at Number 10, the Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories have agreed that they will join the Multilateral Convention on the sharing of tax information and produce action plans to improve the availability of information on beneficial ownership.
Joining the Multilateral Convention will allow more countries to quickly benefit from greater levels of tax information exchange. This will be particularly beneficial for developing countries as it allows them to sign up to one multilateral treaty rather than several bilateral arrangements.
The action plans on beneficial ownership they have committed to produce will ensure much greater clarity about who really owns, controls, and benefits from companies.
This follows an announcement from Prime Minister David Cameron on new rules to bring unprecedented transparency on company ownership, and will make it harder to launder money, evade and avoid tax, finance terrorism, bribe officials, hide stolen assets and evade financial sanctions.
The move follows agreements by the Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories in May to join the G5 pilot alongside the UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy for the automatic exchange of tax information. This initiative has also been joined by 12 other Member States as well as Norway and Mexico.
This will mean that the UK, along with other countries signed up to pilot will be automatically provided with much greater levels of information about bank accounts held by their taxpayers in the Crown Dependencies and Overseas territories.
This includes names, addresses, dates of birth, account numbers, account balances and details of payments made into those accounts.
Together, these commitments represent a the biggest ever step change in the level of tax transparency of the Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories and will make it much harder for people to escape paying taxes by hiding their money overseas.
Photo by Alan Cleaver on Flickr, used under Creative Commons.