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Jersey industry ordered to report UK tax planning to regulator

Monday, 4 August, 2014

From 1 October, Jersey financial firms will have to report any new business connected to tax planning schemes registered under the UK’s Disclosure of Tax Avoidance Scheme (DOTAS) regime.

The measure is part of a package announced by chief minister Ian Gorst and treasury minister Philip Ozouf, designed to demonstrate that Jersey does not want its financial sector to get involved in ‘aggressive’ schemes to avoid UK tax.

‘We do not support that which goes beyond legitimate tax planning for commercial purposes, nor do we want our service providers to host abusive tax schemes designed to frustrate the will of national parliaments’, says a joint statement from the two ministers.

The statement continues: ‘With effect from 1 October 2014, we expect service providers to ensure that they identify if any new business they take on will facilitate the use by their client of a tax avoidance scheme registered under DOTAS, or are of the view that they are involved in a transaction which forms part of a scheme which has a DOTAS reference number, and document this accordingly (including confirmation of compliance with DOTAS reporting requirements) as part of their business take-on procedures’. All such transactions will have to be reported to the Jersey Financial Services Commission and service providers will not be permitted to contravene HMRC’s DOTAS rules.

Further measures will also be brought in to allow the withdrawal of licenses of companies who use the jurisdiction to ‘facilitate abusive tax schemes targeted at UK residents’.

The industry body, Jersey Finance, is also negotiating with HM Revenue & Customs regarding the provision of extra information to help identify and counter ‘abusive tax planning schemes’ that involve Jersey.

Jersey Finance’s chief executive Geoff Cook said a consultation with industry will begin soon regarding guidance on the new measures and the principles they espouse.