170 Countries Queue Up For Leaked Tax Cheat Info

A major data leak revealing the offshore banking details of thousands of tax dodgers from 170 countries to the US, UK and Australia could be handed out to other nations for investigations.

Tax administrators from the governments of 45 countries recently met up in Moscow and heard how three tax authorities had been handed the information.

The information shows how taxpayers have managed to evade paying their taxes by using complex offshore structures in tax havens.

The Forum on Tax Administration (FTA) heard that the trio of countries will share that information to help other countries track down their tax dodgers.

The FTA was created by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development and a spokesman said: “The resolution in Moscow was to better share data so that countries could tackle tax fraud especially now that the UK, US and Australia have decided to share their recently found data.”

Backed by Russia

The FTA issued a statement which said: “When it comes to gathering information on financial transfers which cross borders, we have developed tools to help in the decoding of those transactions and to identify who owns complex structures.

“Three of our members have obtained a large amount of data which reveals those complex offshore structures and they will now use the data for sharing information relevant to other members.

“Because of the complexity and magnitude of the data involved we will work together to analyse it.”

In a videotaped speech, the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, said that no one enjoyed giving their money to tax authorities, but that didn’t mean their work went unrecognized.

He added: “No country can exist without having an efficient tax administration and many, including Russia, have always had problems in collecting tax which is why we attach great importance to the cooperation of tax authorities to share tax information between each other.”

FATCA flow

The conference heard that tax administrators will increasingly use their expanding network of agreements to swap information in a bid to increase transparency.

The FTA’s statement added that the organisation welcomed the growing focus on the automatic exchange of tax information and urged all members of the G20 to move towards exchanging more information in the future.

This call affectively endorses the move by American tax authorities and its Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) legislation which is being created to reveal the assets of more than $50,000 of US taxpayers.

Increasing numbers of countries are now signing up to intergovernmental agreements in a bid to meet the specific requirements of FATCA which will see tax information automatically being exchanged between America and the signatory country from 2014.

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