by Amanda Banks, Tax-News.com, London

24 May 2013

 

The Chief Ministers of both Jersey and Guernsey have replied to Prime Minister David Cameron’s recent letter to the heads of government of all the Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories, pressing them to work in partnership with the United Kingdom in taking the lead on tax information exchange initiatives.

Jersey’s Chief Minister Ian Gorst’s reply welcomed the Prime Minister’s “efforts to improve standards of beneficial ownership information for tax purposes worldwide,” and confirmed that he would be recommending “that Jersey should join the pilot project initiated by the G5, and now extended to a group of 17 European Union Member States, to develop a single standard for automatic exchange of tax information.”

He pointed out, however, that “the World Bank has recognized Jersey as a leader in setting standards for beneficial ownership information for tax purposes. Our stringent requirements for the incorporation of Jersey companies, alongside our regulation and on-site supervision of trust and company service providers, ensure that adequate, accurate and current information on beneficial ownership is available to law enforcement and tax authorities around the world.”

“I share your belief in lower taxes, fairly applied across the world, as a vital driver of growth and prosperity,” he added, “and we look forward to continuing to provide the financial services which are essential to future economic growth and stability.”

In like manner, the Chief Minister of Guernsey Peter Harwood also welcomed the UK Prime Minister’s invitation to support the current international work on tax, trade and transparency.

He confirmed that “Guernsey continues to demonstrate its commitment both to tax information exchange and to ensuring that the information exchanged meets the agreed international standards. In addition, the fact that Guernsey is one of the jurisdictions which has been recognized by the UK government as meeting its own highest standards of tax information exchange shows that the UK is aware that Guernsey is part of the solution to tax evasion and not part of the problem.”

He emphasized that “Guernsey is one of only a handful of jurisdictions in the world that actually regulates corporate service providers and we also meet Financial Action Task Force’s key recommendations on beneficial ownership.”