Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Developing nations asked to join information exchange

Building on what we recently blogged, it's heartening to see this, from Reuters:

"The government said on Tuesday it had asked developing nations to swap information to crack down on tax avoidance, ahead of a financial crime conference on Wednesday.

Treasury minister Stephen Timms wrote to 16 countries, including Jamaica, Cameroon, South Africa and Vietnam with the aim of setting up a multilateral tax information exchange involving Britain by the end of the year."

This is good, though let's see how this pans out in practice, especially given the prospect of a change of government in Britain.

As a somewhat pedantic aside, we do notice a trend in the media of using the word "avoidance" (which is, technically, not illegal, even if it also is about avoiding the spirit of tax legislation) when in this case it is, essentially the illegal kind we're talking about - which is called tax evasion. It may make sense for media organisations to have a blanket recommendation to use "avoidance" instead of "evasion" in the face of Britain's sedition law for the exclusive use of millionaires, sorry libel laws, but it does muddy the waters.


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