Britain says to sign tax agreement with Cayman Islands

Reuters News
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Posted: Nov 05, 2013 8:04 AM
Britain says to sign tax agreement with Cayman Islands

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain will sign on Tuesday an information-sharing agreement with the Cayman Islands, one of its overseas territories, to help British authorities improve tax collection, finance minister George Osborne said on Tuesday.

The step advances Britain's efforts to stamp out use of offshore tax havens to launder money and hide wealth. Prime Minister David Cameron used an international summit in June to raise the profile of illegal global tax evasion.

"We will be signing this afternoon a tax information sharing agreement with the Cayman Islands, the first ever with an overseas territory," Osborne told parliament.

"As a result information on UK taxpayers held in the Cayman Islands will automatically be provided to HMRC (Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs) who will use it to collect the tax that is due," he said.

The Cayman Islands and other British overseas territories have become major international financial centers thanks to low taxation, light-touch regulation and limited requirements for those who invest there to disclose their business.

Last week Cameron said he would make public a British register of company ownership details to help tax authorities untangle deliberately complex structures used to hide wealth and profits in low tax regimes abroad.

(Reporting by William James and Christina Fincher, editing by Gareth Jones)