18 June 2013
Jersey's Chief Minister, Senator Ian Gorst, has issued the following statement:
To coincide with the G8 Summit and to share in the G8’s action to enhance transparency on beneficial ownership of companies, Jersey is publishing its own action plan today.
This builds on Jersey’s leading position on beneficial ownership information – recognised by the World Bank - which forms a key part of our continuing commitment to tackling tax evasion and fraud.
Jersey already holds a central register of beneficial ownership of companies. In addition we regulate those who form and administer companies and trusts. They are required by statute to maintain up-to-date and accurate information on the ownership of those for whom they act. All the information held in the Island is available to tax authorities and law enforcement agencies on request.
We are confident that the quality of this information meets current international standards and will allow us to meet any new international standards which are agreed by the G8 and applied globally.
We are committed to implementing the revised Financial Action Task Force (FATF) standards in order to improve the transparency of beneficial ownership. This is a matter of good governance as a means to tackle a wide range of illicit activity.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) found Jersey to be fully or largely compliant with the earlier FATF standards and we are confident of a similar outcome when Jersey is next independently assessed in 2015.
Our action plan makes it clear that Jersey will support improvements in international cooperation, including the timely and effective exchange of beneficial ownership information, in compliance with international standards.
We also hope to be directly involved in the work necessary to develop these new international standards, particularly through our role as a vice-chair of the Peer Review Group of the OECD’s Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes.
At the G8 Open for Growth event on Saturday in London, Presidents of African countries spoke of their need for assistance. Last year we contacted the African Tax Administration Forum, the UK Department for International Development and others, offering to provide technical assistance to developing countries to help improve the capacity of their tax administrations in combating tax evasion/avoidance, based on our own experience.
We will continue to comply with international standards, respond promptly and effectively to requests for information from tax authorities or law enforcement agencies, and give every assistance to developing countries.
We are fully signed up to the G8 agenda on beneficial ownership and welcome the Prime Minister’s leadership and willingness to work in partnership with us in seeking a step change in international standards through the UK’s G8 Presidency.
We look forward to hearing of the action to be taken by the G8.
Senator Ian Gorst