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Cameron stands alone over tax: We'll go first, but will the world follow?

Cameron stands alone over tax: We'll go first, but will the world follow?
25 Jun 2013

This article was first published in The Sunday Times, 23 June 2013

Britain and America have been called the "twin pillars of financial secrecy" by Global Witness, a campaign group, and the prime minister could not be seen to lecture other countries on the "scourge of tax evasion" when such abuses were happening on his doorstep.

Yet in its haste to avoid charges of hypocrisy, Britain has gone much further than many other countries with its proposals to make all companies investigate who owns their shares. The information would be lodged with a central corporate register, which could ultimately be made public.

This would help tax authorities work out whether the individuals behind the companies — the true "beneficial owners" — were paying their fair share. However, critics argue genuine British firms could be put at a disadvantage if the rest of the world refuses to play ball.

"The first countries to adopt full transparency are likely to suffer a competitive disadvantage. Newer financial centres may continue to suck business from G8 countries, shifting economic power from west to east," said Frédéric Donnedieu de Vabres, Chairman of Taxand.


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This article was first published in The Sunday Times, 23 June 2013

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