Guernsey Reiterates Cooperation In Tax Matters
Friday, May 17, 2013
Ahead of the forthcoming G8 and G20 meetings on tax transparency, Guernsey's Chief
Minister, Peter Harwood has taken the opportunity to recall Guernsey's leadership
and track record on adopting best practices and cooperating in international efforts
to tackle fiscal crime.
In a statement ahead of the event, Harwood sought to highlight that:
- Guernsey was on the original Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's (OECD) "white list;" and has been recognized
by the OECD's Global Forum as having the necessary legal and regulatory powers
in place to ensure that local authorities can effectively exchange tax information on request.
- Guernsey has over 40 tax information exchange agreements in place, as well
as a network of double tax agreements including provisions to exchange tax
- Guernsey was awarded the highest compliance rating by the UK
Government and the UK tax authority, HM Revenue and Customs in terms of compliance
in information exchange since its ratings were introduced in 2011.
- Guernsey chose to automatically exchange information under measures equivalent
to the EU Savings Tax Directive, a practice still not met by some EU Member
- Guernsey meets the standards of "good global governance" in tax issues as
recommended by the European Commission in December 2012, and voluntarily adopted
and complies with the EU's Code of Conduct on Business Taxation.
- The territory meets key FATF recommendations on anti-money laundering, and
outlaws such activity.
- Guernsey collaborates with developing countries and multilateral institutions
on asset recovery, to ensure the island cannot be used as a back door for
parking or transferring illegitimately-acquired assets.
- The island's Financial Services Commission has regulated trusts and corporate service providers for over a
decade while many OECD members do not yet regulate trusts and corporate service
providers; and lastly,
- There are no banking secrecy laws in Guernsey.
Emphasizing the territory's support for global efforts, Harwood stated: "Guernsey firmly believes that common global standards
are the most effective method of fighting fraud and tax evasion, and strongly
supports the rapid adoption of FATCA-type multilateral automatic information
exchange as a new global standard. Guernsey has welcomed the recent announcement
by the UK, along with France, Germany, Italy and Spain, to pilot automatic information
exchange based on the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) agreements
with the USA, and we support those countries' efforts to ensure that the Organization
for Economic Cooperation and Development adopts multilateral automatic information
exchange as a new global standard."
"Earlier this year I was able to announce Guernsey's intention to finalize
a draft agreement on a proposed "tax package" with the UK. That package
included an agreement in principle to enhanced reporting of tax information
along FATCA principles. Our agreements with the UK and the US will be subject
to the proper decision-making process of our Parliamentary Assembly and will
be presented to them for approval later this year. As I made clear in my open
letter to Prime Minister Cameron of May 1, 2013, at that juncture I would be
willing to present a report and a recommendation on joining the G5 Pilot."
"Guernsey is fully supportive of the UK's G8 agenda. We remain committed
to meeting all international standards on beneficial ownership, as demonstrated
by our implementation of the Financial Action Task Force's recommendations.
The actions we have taken in Guernsey emphasize that we fully support international
co-operation on the transparency of and access to beneficial ownership information."
He concluded: "We support the calls for greater tax transparency - not just with our
words but with our actions. We are part of the tax transparency process, and
look forward to continuing to play our part. The message from Guernsey is clear
- Guernsey is not a jurisdiction of choice for those who want to hide."