Tax Havens Linked to U.K. Sign Up to Extended Transparency Code

Britain’s network of overseas territories and dependencies agreed to Prime Minister David Cameron’s request that they sign up to extended transparency rules aimed at preventing tax evasion.

The islands around Britain known as the Crown Dependencies -- Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man -- joined the British Virgin Islands, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Gibraltar, Anguilla, Montserrat and the Turks and Caicos Islands in agreeing to support an automatic tax information exchange begun by the U.K., Germany, France, Italy and Spain.

They also agreed to join the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance on Tax Matters, and to publish action plans how they they’d force companies to reveal “beneficial ownership” -- the details of who is really behind a firm. Cameron has put securing wider agreement on these matters at the heart of his agenda for the Group of Eight summit he’s hosting in Northern Ireland June 17-18.

“It is important we are getting our house in order,” the prime minister said in a statement after the talks at his office in London. “It is a very positive step forward and it means that Britain’s voice in the G-8 and the campaigning on this issue around the world for proper taxes, proper companies and proper laws will be stronger.”

The U.K. will establish its own register of beneficial ownership, Cameron said.

“We need to know more about who owns which company -- beneficial ownership -- because that is how a lot of people and a lot of companies avoid tax, using secretive companies in secretive locations,” he said.

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