Britain moves on tax dodges ahead of G8 summit

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain turned up the pressure on other rich economies to clamp down on secretive money flows at a summit next week by pressing its overseas tax havens into a transparency deal and announcing new disclosure rules for British firms.

Prime Minister David Cameron wants to make progress on closing global tax loopholes when he hosts a meeting of leaders of the Group of Eight economies in Northern Ireland tomorrow and Tuesday.

“It is important we are getting our house in order,” Cameron said in a speech in London on Saturday after representatives of overseas tax havens linked to Britain agreed to sign up to an international transparency protocol.

“It is a very positive step forward and it means that Britain’s voice in the G8 and the campaigning on this issue around the world for proper taxes, proper companies and proper laws … will be stronger.”

Ten territories and self-governing regions will join the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Assistance in Tax Matters which has been agreed by more than 50 countries.

They also pledged to produce plans on how to provide more information on the ownership of so-called shell companies.

Those included in the agreement were Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Gibraltar, Anguilla, Montserrat, Turks and Caicos Islands, Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man.

The convention will help developing countries trying to trace money they suspect belongs in their state coffers, to request tax information from offshore centres.

Also yesterday, the British government said it will introduce new domestic rules to combat tax evasion and money laundering, by forcing shadowy “shell” companies to throw off their cloak of anonymity and reveal who really runs them.

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