British Colonies Braced For ‘Hurricane Brown’ Assault on Tax Evasion

Britain’s crown dependencies and overseas territories are scrambling to defend themselves against the latest rhetoric issued by high-tax countries.
Supposedly ‘leading’ offshore centres are pleading for a more discriminate approach to distinguish themselves from the ‘dirtier’ unregulated tax havens.
Geoff Cook of Jersey Finance, which represents the island’s financial industry, says: “The thing we worry about is we are being tarred with the same brush as everyone else.”
Of international leaders: “They are desperate to find any way they can of increasing their tax collection and they are desperate to deflect attention away from the domestic situation.”
The Cayman Islands took a similar stance:”We fear a very indiscriminate position will be
taken which owes more to protectionism and prejudice than judgement and intellectual application,”  said Deborah Drummond, deputy financial secretary of the Islands.
Last week the US administration offered encouragement for new anti-tax haven legislation that builds on the ‘stop tax haven abuse act’ introduced by then Senator Obama. If passed, numerous tax havens, among them many British colonies and territories may find themselves on the receiving end of sanctions which force them to be more transparent. The UK, Germany and France have also called for a crackdown on tax havens, hoping to make it a top issue at April’s G20 summit.
Tax evasion scandals linked to swiss offshore banking and Liechtenstein have increased pressure, as has the banking crisis, when it was revealed that banks were some of the heaviest users of offshore jurisdictions.
Although it is widely opined by experts that offshore banking is not a major factor in the global financial crisis, many governments may find it easy to target offshore tax havens, leveraging on their close links to the banking sector.

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