We originally posted UK mini-FATCA Agreements Spells The End for UK Tax Haven Territories! on Monday, November 26, 2012. The UK and some other European countries have negotiating FATCA agreements with the US.
Jersey has now agreed to the automatic reporting of bank account information to the UK tax authorities. As with Guernsey and the Isle of Man, there will be a partial tax amnesty allowing UK residents to disclose previously undeclared Jersey accounts to HM Revenue and Customs, though immunity from prosecution is not warranted.
Jersey is particularly anxious that the UK's insistence on automatic reporting should be applied to other international financial centres, to ensure a level playing field. The UK government is equally keen on the idea: it has just published an Offshore Evasion Strategy document setting out plans to negotiate bilateral automatic information exchange agreements with the British Overseas Territories and other high-priority jurisdictions. Which provides in part:
“While great progress has been made internationally to open up non-cooperative jurisdictions, more still needs to be done. The Government believes that there are two key elements to future bilateral agreements targeted at tackling tax evasion:
1. automatic exchange of information for the future: building on the historic agreement with the USA, the Government will look to conclude similar agreements with other jurisdictions, moving to a new standard of automatic information exchange in bilateral agreements
2. measures to encourage those with hidden funds to come forward: HMRC will continue to seek agreements with other jurisdictions, including the Overseas Territories, building on the agreements reached with Liechtenstein, the Isle of Man, Guernsey and Jersey.”
The Cayman Islands has already signalled that it will accept automatic reporting to the UK, in a statement by Financial Services Minister Rolston Anglin to the jurisdiction's legislative assembly on 15 March. The Cayman government has also agreed to implement FATCA's reporting requirements for US-owned bank accounts.
The die has been cast and it appear to be only a matter of time before, most if not all, former British Territories will enter into UK - US information sharing FATCA agreements.
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