Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Isle of Man: improving rules, but we need action

A quote from Tax Research, on an OECD report praising the Isle of Man for its willingness to follow best practice on information exchange.
There’s a problem for the Isle of Man. There’s no doubt it did well in this test on ability to information exchange. But as I’ve already noted in comments on this blog, it doing so is a bit like the student who got A* in the GCSE in making love but has yet to have a partner. Geting a good mark in theory and actually getting on with the reality are sometimes two very different things.
It's saucy but it is a pretty good analogy, actually. (A commentator on the blog suggested that a better analogy would be with taking a driving test - you need to pass the theory before learning to drive. But that doesn't work: how long has the Isle of Man been a secrecy jurisdiction?)

We have praised the Isle of Man in the past, since it has done significantly better than its competitor Jersey in terms of getting rid of abusive legislation (such as moving to automatic information exchange under the EU Savings Tax Directive in 2009) - but we still don't believe that beyond this, it has exchanged very much information at all.

As a side note, it may be an example of the OECD's wilful blindness that the words 'information exchange' appear 40 times in the 99 page report mentioned above, whereas the word 'automatic' (whether in conjunction with 'information exchange' or not) appears precisely zero times. Even though automatic information exchange is, despite the OECD's best efforts, the emerging global standard.

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