UK parliamentarians have the opportunity to take historic action over the next two days, ending decades of financial secrecy in the UK’s Overseas Territories.
As Parliament closes down before the General Election which will take place on the 8th June, a lot of ongoing business is now at risk. A range of Bills that have been through multiple committee stages could be lost completely, required to start from scratch in the new Parliament. But some will make it through in the intense activity of the ‘wash-up‘:
The wash-up period refers to the last few days of a Parliament before dissolution. Any unfinished business is lost at dissolution and the Government may need the co-operation of the Opposition in passing legislation that is still in progress.
TJN proudly unveils today its first public call among business leaders in Germany in support of a fully public and effective register of beneficial ownership (BO, or the real owners of companies). So far 12 German businesses with a combined turnover of more than €500 million have signed the petition for amending the current draft law on beneficial ownership. The call proposes amendments by making a BO registry fully public, and by ensuring that the real ultimate beneficial owner is always published, no matter in how many “shells” the German legal entity might be wrapped.
The call emphasises that the publication of the information on beneficial ownership would create a level playing field between currently transparent GmbHs (with domestic, non-legal person shareholders), and currently opaque AGs and GmbHs (with foreign legal person shareholders). At the moment, the users of offshore legal entities can enjoy the (rather sinful) fruits of anonymity while the names of domestic business owners with nothing to hide are often already made public.
Here is the call for signature, and here is the signed call with the current list of signatories (and here is a blog in German introducing the call). The timeline for signatures is tight. The parliamentary schedule foresees that on Wednesday, 26th April, the finance committee will discuss the law and the final discussions in the finance committee are scheduled to happen on 17 May. The final votes in the plenary Bundestag are planned on 18 and 19 May.
Please share this call among any business leader you know who might be interested and who might do business (including) through a German legal entity.
“Vietnam has introduced a legal requirement for domestic subsidiaries to provide a copy of the global Country By Country report directly to the Vietnamese tax authority. This way, Vietnam does not have to rely on tax treaties or information exchange agreements to the get information on foreign parent companies. It provides a great example for other countries to follow, so congratulations to my colleagues in Vietnam for this great milestone!”
The decision by Vietnam to require local filing by multinationals that wish to operate there is exactly what we have argued countries should do – instead of getting bogged down in the complexities of an OECD process that may never yield any data.
In our April 2017 Taxcast: the Panama Papers, one year on – we talk to the journalists who got the scoop. Plus: we discuss the raid on Credit Suisse, and new data exposing the profit shifting shennanigans of the EU’s biggest banks.
Featuring: The Panama Papers scoop journalists and Pulitzer Prize winners Bastian Obermayer and Frederik Obermaier of the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper, and John Christensen of the Tax Justice Network. Produced and presented by Naomi Fowler for the Tax Justice Network. The book ‘The Panama Papers: Breaking the Story of How the Rich and Powerful Hide Their Money’ is here.
Welcome to our monthly podcast and radio programme in Spanish, Justicia ImPositiva with Marcelo Justo and Marta Nuñez, downloaded and broadcast on radio networks across Latin America and Spain. ¡Bienvenidos y bienvenidas a nuestro podcast y programa radiofónica! (abajo en castellano). Our monthly podcast in English, the Taxcast will be out soon, talking to the journalists who got the Panama Papers scoop. Catch up on last month’s here and watch this space…
We’re pleased to say that the world is moving towards the registration of beneficial owners (BOs) who are the natural persons who ultimately own, control or benefit from legal persons (e.g. companies) and legal arrangements (e.g. trusts). If made public, these registries would increase financial transparency. Public registers of BOs are the only way to prevent criminals from hiding behind opaque structures and nominees from facilitating tax evasion, money laundering, fraud, and other forms of corruption, including the financing of terrorism. They are also a prerequisite for the smooth functioning of markets by providing basic information for market participants and regulators so they know who is doing business where, as well as for the wider understanding of patterns of national and international economic activity.
By Alex Cobham
Last week I took up the kind invitation of the government of Cayman to speak at their conference on ‘Tax Transparency in the Global Financial Services Ecosystem’, and to meet with staff from the monetary authority, statistics office and corporate registry; and with a range of industry representatives including those from the compliance association and Cayman Finance. Above is a video of my presentation; and here a few reflections on the divergences between reputation, rhetoric and reality; and on where things now stand.