Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Leaked draft report for OECD forum says Jersey could do better

Tax Research has just published a draft report to the OECD Global Forum Peer Review Group on Jersey, which the author Richard Murphy says "shows the opinion of the peer review group before Jersey commented and sought to water down the observations made." That, in our experience, is not an overly cynical view.

We would like to add this reminder (from our quotations page), if there were any doubt as to Jersey's strenuous efforts to keep information flows as small as possible, this, from Jersey Finance last year, regarding its Tax Information Exchange Agreements (TIEAs:)
"These TIEAs will be used only in specific cases and where the requesting authority is able to demonstrate that there is a need to obtain the information and that all other means to discover the information they require has been exhausted in its own territory. The Jersey authorities may still decline a request for information if they consider it does not meet the strict criteria laid down in the agreement.A high threshold therefore exists before the Jersey authorities will accede to a request under a TIEA. For example in the past year, there have been just four requests from the US under the terms of the TIEA. There is no automatic exchange of information under any circumstances and no ‘fishing expeditions’ for information. Strict confidentiality provisions in the agreement preclude any information being passed to third parties without the express written consent of the requested country."
It kind of speaks for itself, doesn't it?

This is reminiscent of the publication of the so-called Edwards Report on the Crown Dependencies in 1998. TJN's now director John Christensen got leaked a copy of the draft report, which was far, far stronger than the final version that was allowed to be published.

An academic discussion of that report said that the final published version "comes perilously close to a whitewash." Read more here (though some of the links are now down; bear with us - we're working to get them restored).

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