Increased Transparency for Offshore Tax Havens - Gilbert Tax

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Increased Transparency for Offshore Tax Havens

New measures that have been proposed to increase the transparency of offshore tax havens have been agreed to by the government ministers after facing a possible Commons defeat. The new measures that have been called for will mean the true owners of companies based in British Overseas Territories will now be publish; measures that ministers decided not to oppose. Those who called for the amendment claim that a public register will make it easier for authorities to identify cases of money laundering and tax avoidance.

It is believed that the reluctance of some MPs to support the bill was because they did not want the government to damage the autonomy of overseas territories by directly legislating. However, with no Conservative majority in the House of Commons, and 19 Tory MPs backing the amendment, the government was at risk of a rebellion and ultimately supported the changes.

The move has been hailed as a huge progression by groups such as Oxfam and Transparency International, whilst not being well received by other parties such as the interim director of British Virgin Island Finance who has accused those who supported the new legislation of "colonialism". In response the Foreign Office Minister has said "We've listened to the strength of feeling in the House on this issue and accept that it is without a doubt the majority view of this House that the overseas territories should have public registers."

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