The States of Guernsey has submitted written evidence to the House of Commons Treasury Sub-Committee to help it understand, as part of its inquiry into tax avoidance and evasion, how the island helps global efforts to combat such practices.
While Guernsey was not requested to give evidence as part of the inquiry, the Policy & Resources Committee took the decision to proactively submit written evidence todemonstrate the island’s long track record of helping the international fight against tax evasion and the minimisation of tax avoidance through transparency, co-operation and adoption of principles of fair taxation.
The Committee has also offered to give oral evidence if this would assist the Sub-Committee fulfil its role in examining the expenditure, administration and policies of the relevant UK public bodies in this inquiry.
Guernsey’s evidence was submitted to help the Treasury Sub-Committee to address the following questions set out in the scope of the inquiry:
“What part do the UK’s Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories play in the avoidanceor evasion of tax? What more needs to be done to address their use in tax avoidance or tax evasion?”
Guernsey’s evidence, which will be published in full next week, includes:
1.Guernsey is a well-regulated financial centre with an important role in international capital markets, contributing to the UK’s financial services industry and wider economy
2.Guernsey is committed to the global effort of combatting financial crime, including tax evasion
3.Guernsey is transparent, committed to EU principles of fair taxation and supports principles of a level playing field. Guernsey has a robust stance against tax avoidance
4.Guernsey is recognised as a reliable, active and co-operative partner of the United Kingdom and the European Union
5.Guernsey has an effective central register of beneficial ownership of companies and other legal persons which helps UK authorities like HM Revenue & Customs to tackle financial crime. The effectiveness of these arrangements to share information with law enforcement agencies was recently confirmed by the UK Home Office
6.Guernsey recognises the need to maximise tax revenues, by reducing tax evasion and fraud, and to prevent abusive tax avoidance.
Deputy Gavin St Pier, President of the Policy & Resources Committee, said:
“Guernsey is and has always been an effective partner in efforts to target aggressive tax avoidance and tax evasion. The island has no desire, or need, to harbour abusive schemes and will continue to work with international tax authorities to eliminate them. Anyone who thinks Guernsey is a good location from which they can escape their UK liabilities is either foolish or badly advised – or possibly both. The tax policies of Guernsey are underpinned by strong General Anti-Avoidance Rules. These have been in place since the 1970s, which is relevant when you consider that the UK only got around to adopting a General Anti-Avoidance Rule a few years ago.
“While not asked to give evidence, we chose to proactively do so to demonstrate our long-held position as a jurisdiction that supports the global fight against tax evasion. Guernsey minimises aggressive tax avoidance through transparency, co-operation and adoption of principles of fair taxation. We are not what people think we are; we are part of the solution, not the problem. We have nothing to hide. On the contrary, we can all shout loud and proud about Guernsey’s record. Others can learn from ourexperience if they are prepared to listen.”