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Guernsey and Jersey sign for automatic reporting to UK

Thursday, 24 October, 2013

Guernsey and Jersey have followed the Isle of Man in signing formal inter-governmental agreements with the UK implementing the automatic exchange of tax information.

All three Crown Dependencies announced in March this year their willingness to sign the deals, sometimes called 'UK FATCA agreements' because they closely follow the disclosure provisions and timetable of the US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act.

Financial information on UK resident taxpayers holding accounts in any of the Crown Dependencies will be supplied to HM Revenue and Customs starting from January 2015. The standard reporting schedule requires information for the 2014 and 2015 calendar years to be reported by 30 September 2016. After that, reporting will take place within nine months of the relevant calendar year end. No information for 2013 will be reported.

UK-resident non-domiciles taxed on the remittance basis can elect to have their affairs reported in somewhat less detail. Reporting for non-doms will be required as from 30 June 2014. For the UK tax year ending 5 April 2015, reporting is required by 30 September 2016.

In the meantime, disclosure facilities are already operating under which UK residents with assets in the Crown Dependencies can voluntarily notify them to HMRC. They may get reduced penalties as a result, though with no guarantees of immunity from prosecution.

The UK Treasury said the 'historic' agreements represented a 'step change in HMRC's ability to clamp down on tax evasion'. It hopes to sign similar agreements with British Overseas Territories soon.

Jersey Finance Chief Executive Geoff Cook said he recognised the industry had work to do in the coming months to ensure it could meet the agreement's operational requirements. However, he said the agreement would also help to strengthen Jersey's reputation in key markets abroad.

Sources