The Chancellor, George Osborne, has announced that Anguilla, Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, Montserrat and the Turks and Caicos Islands have signed agreements to automatically share information with the UK in a demonstration of their commitment to cracking down on tax evasion.

The deal will see the British Overseas Territories pass on names, addresses, dates of birth, account numbers, account balances, and even details of payments made into accounts to the UK, and the G5 nations including France, Germany, Italy and Spain. The information to be shared also includes information on certain accounts held by entities, such as trusts.

Frank Strachan, Head of Tax at Edwin Coe LLP, says, “This announcement comes as no surprise given the level of priority awarded to increased tax transparency during UK’s presidency of the G8”.

“The ‘No safe havens – HMRC offshore evasion strategy’ released by HMRC during the Budget in March detailed a commitment to cracking down on offshore tax evasion, but what we see today, is the evidence”.

“The message is clear, the first step may be an exchange of information but from my experience, a disclosure facility requiring financial intermediaries in these jurisdictions to write to UK taxpayers to come forward will not be far off”.

“Given the terms of the disclosure facilities with Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man are not as favorable as the well established LDF, I advise any individuals who think they may be impacted and that are currently sitting tight to act sooner rather than later. The benefits of coming forward now are that you decrease the amount of interest and penalties that HMRC will seek to levy and reduce the risk of potential criminal prosecution”.

If you would any further information about this issue, please contact me by emailing hetal.sanghvi@edwincoe.com.

Please note that this blog is provided for general information only. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content of this blog.

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