London, United Kingdom (PressExposure) September 30, 2009 -- Britainâs top taxman has said he wants more powers directly over offshore financial centres. In an exclusive interview with the leading wealth management website, http://www.businessifc.com , Dave Hartnett said that among his aspirations are powers for national tax authorities to access data directly on their taxpayersâ assets in other jurisdictions.
This would be much more immediate than waiting for external tax authorities to supply information under present agreements.
The HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) plays a pivotal role in influencing the future of the global tax agenda and its views are central to the ongoing debate. What the UK taxman does today may be followed by other revenue authorities tomorrow.
Hartnett, permanent secretary for tax, told http://www.businessifc.com that it is only in recent years that the HMRC has stepped up its targeting of taxpayers using offshore centres and institutions which facilitate accounts. The authority has used a range of devices to encourage taxpayers to confess and pay up and when they have not, it has launched legal actions against them.
âThe world has begun to change. There may well be a place for offshore financial centres but it will be different. There is considerable political will to end banking secrecy and to establish tax transparency as the standard. Such centres will be able to continue only if they are fully transparent.â
He sees the exchange of tax information on request â which is the basis of the current Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) initiative â as the first step only. âI see automatic exchange of information as the benchmark. That is the position which I would like to reach as standard.â
The Isle of Man has already made the first steps on this road and Hartnett hopes that more jurisdictions will adopt automatic exchange as the basis of agreements between states. He says that this would be a mature approach for international financial centres to adopt.
BusinessIFC.com is the leading global website for news, information and analysis on wealth management and private client issues. It focuses predominately on products and services available in international financial centres.
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