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Taxation: Crown Dependencies and British Overseas Territories

Volume 492: debated on Wednesday 20 May 2009

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assistance the Government offered each UK Overseas Territory to facilitate (a) the completion of tax information exchange agreements and (b) inclusion in the OECD list of jurisdictions that had substantially implemented the internationally-agreed tax standard before the G20 Meeting in April 2009. (274396)

The negotiation of tax information exchange agreements with other jurisdictions, including the UK, is essentially a matter for the Overseas Territories themselves. Such agreements are negotiated under Entrustments granted by the UK. The UK offers assistance where appropriate and encourages dialogue between the Overseas Territories and other countries. In the case of jurisdictions with particular capacity constraints, the UK offers more extensive assistance.

Inclusion in the OECD list of jurisdictions that have substantially implemented the internationally agreed tax standard is based on assessments carried out by the OECD.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what correspondence he has had with the administrations of the UK Overseas Territories on removal of their tax haven status; (274703)

(2) when the Government first informed the administrations of the UK Overseas Territories of the requirement to conclude tax information exchange agreements prior to their removal from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development list of the jurisdictions considered to be tax havens;

(3) what discussions he has had with the administrations of the UK Overseas Territories on the timetable for (a) their agreement to the tax information exchange grants required by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and (b) the inclusion of their jurisdictions on the OECD White List; and if he will make a statement.

The Government maintain continuing dialogue with the Overseas Territories on tax co-operation issues. A number of Overseas Territories began negotiating tax information exchange agreements some years ago following commitments they made to comply with OECD standards. The Government welcome progress made so far and encourages all jurisdictions to maintain their efforts to implement the internationally agreed standard.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what recent correspondence he has had with the administrations of the Crown Dependencies on removal of their tax haven status; (274397)

(2) when the Government first informed the administrations of the Crown Dependencies of the requirement to conclude tax information exchange agreements prior to their removal from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development list of the jurisdictions considered to be tax havens.

The Government maintain continuing dialogue with the Crown Dependences on tax co-operation issues. The Crown Dependences began negotiating tax information exchange agreements some years ago following commitments they made to comply with OECD standards. The Government welcome the inclusion of the Crown Dependences in the OECD list of jurisdictions that have substantially implemented the internationally agreed tax standard.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the implication for the Government’s policy on reducing tax avoidance of the progress made by the UK Overseas Territories towards signature of tax information exchange grants prior to the G20 Summit in April 2009. (276012)

Tax information exchange agreements play an important role in combating tax evasion and avoidance. Overseas Territories have recently concluded a number of agreements but it is too early to assess their impact.

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what his policy is on the standards which Crown Dependencies should meet in respect of requirements for disclosure of information on tax regimes; (276010)

(2) what his policy is on the standards which UK Overseas Territories should meet in respect of requirements for disclosure of information on tax regimes.

The Government expect the Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories to comply with international standards of transparency and exchange of information in tax matters as developed by the OECD and endorsed by the G20.