Gibraltar Commits To Tax Evasion Fight
07 May 2013
Posted by: Author: Jason Gorringe
Source: Jason Gorringe (Tax-News.com, London)
The Government of Gibraltar has committed to support the UK and the wider international community in enhancing tax transparency and effectively tackling tax evasion.
Gibraltar has communicated to the UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, that it is confident that the territory already has in place a robust regime for rooting out tax evasion, particularly through its membership in, and full compliance with the rules of the European Union. In a letter to Cameron, Gibraltar's Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo underscored the territory's wish to pursue tax transparency initiatives with the UK, with input from the local financial services industry, to further build upon the territory's ties with Britain.
"It remains the Gibraltar Government’s firm view that tackling tax evasion and fraud is rightly a global priority, necessary to protect the integrity of public revenues, the confidence of taxpayers in the fairness and effectiveness of their tax systems and, ultimately, public confidence in open global capital markets," the Gibraltar Government stated.
"Gibraltar, uniquely amongst all British Overseas Territories and the Crown Dependencies, notes that it is required to comply, and already complies, with all EU requirements in these areas. Despite the increased attention given to tackling evasion and fraud over recent years, in particular through the development of international standards and the Peer Review process by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's Global Forum, further action may be considered necessary to deter evasion and clamp down on evaders. In this respect the next necessary step is to move to a global system of automatic exchange of tax information. The action taken by the United States under its Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) gives a unique opportunity to develop a new global standard in the near future and from that to develop a system of multilateral automatic information exchange. Gibraltar has committed to enter [into] the US FATCA and to enter into similar arrangements with the UK in accordance with the same timetable."
"Furthermore, building on our actions as regards the EU Savings Directive, we also commit to the pilot multilateral automatic exchange of tax information announced recently by the UK, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain. We would also call on other jurisdictions to commit to this initiative which will take us to a new level of tax benefit from fraud."
However, the Government emphasized the fundamental importance of maintaining a level playing field in the international financial services area, ensuring that all territories adopt the same frameworks, and the need for firm enforcement action against non-compliance.
Continuing, the Government suggested: "The other element in eliminating any remaining hiding places is to improve the availability of information on beneficial ownership. The work of the Global Forum and the Financial Action Task Force has led to significant improvements. Gibraltar is committed to taking forward this agenda together with other jurisdictions, to review the effectiveness of the existing legal and enforcement framework and to produce an Action Plan, working closely with the UK as part of its G8 agenda, aimed at ensuring that Gibraltar forms part of a group of jurisdictions setting the standards in the context of establishing an international level playing field on this front."