In a concerted effort to combat tax evasion, the G8 members have signed an accord for the automatic exchange of information which it is hoped will become the new “gold standard” for inter-governmental co-operation on tax fraud.
Other measures are also in the making: France, the UK, Germany, Spain and Italy have announced that, together with Singapore, the British Virgin Islands, the Turks and Caicos Islands, Montserrat, Anguilla, Bermuda, Gibraltar and the Cayman Islands, they have all signed up to the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters. This means there will be an exchange of information (mostly one way, one would be guessing?!) in respect of bank accounts and assets held in these territories. The “home” tax jurisdiction will, therefore, have access to extensive detailed information on the accounts and other financial assets of their residents, in order to ensure full disclosure and full compliance.
If you hold any previously unreported accounts or other financial assets, then you are urged to make a voluntary disclosure to the relevant tax authority. It is always better to come clean now, and accept a reduced penalty for your “co-operation,” than wait for your financial details to wing their way from any of the above tax havens – the pain will be much worse if the home tax authorities find you first!