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Global action on tax evasion welcomed

The Chief Minister is back in the Island after the weekend summit at Downing Street, where crown dependencies were urged to do more to tackle global tax evasion and fraud.

Allan Bell pledged the Isle of Man will play its part in the drive to improve standards.

He signed-up to a three point action plan at Saturday's Trade, Tax and Transparency forum hosted by Prime Minister David Cameron ahead of the G8 summit, which starts today (Monday).

Mr Cameron gave an upbeat assessment of his talks with leaders of the dependencies and offshore territories:

It's unclear how that commitment to a fairer tax system - to benefit developing countries - will affect the Island's financial services sector.

Safeguarding its future as combating tax evasion shoots-up the political agenda is Mr Bell's next challenge.

The Manx delegation agreed to three key steps needed to tackle tax evasion.

- the Island will take part in a pilot automatic tax exchange scheme with the UK and other European coutnries.

- it will join a convention of mutual assitance on tax matters.

- and thirdly, publish a national action plan on beneficial ownership: who owns and controls companies, trusts and funds in the Isle of Man.

The Manx government has made much of current laws which ensure accurate details are kept on beneficial ownership of Island-registered companies, and the presence of local regulators to enforce compliance.

That information is 'on request' during international investigations.

Mr Bell has now agreed to review those provisions and consider whether the introduction of a centralised registry would improve transparency, making the information freely available to law enforcement and tax authorities.

The Chief Minister will outline details of the moves he's agreed to at a news conference this morning.

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