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IoM Tackles VAT Avoidance Allegations

by Jason Gorringe, Lowtax.net, London
09 November, 2017

The Isle of Man's Chief Minister, Howard Quayle, has assured the island's parliament that tackling recent allegations of VAT avoidance on aircraft leasing is a top priority.

The allegations of VAT fraud were made by media associated with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, who broke the "Paradise Papers" story, and center on the importation of business jets via the Isle of Man into the EU.

When these allegations first emerged two weeks ago, a press release was issued by the island's Cabinet Office, which said the UK's Treasury Department had been invited to conduct an assessment. The island has already conducted an internal review, which shows no evidence of wrongdoing, or to suggest the Isle of Man's Customs and Excise Division has been involved in the mistaken refunding of VAT.

Quayle told parliament that if there is any evidence of wrongdoing then all appropriate action will be taken against those involved. He said the scoping of the assessment by senior officers from the UK Treasury has already begun and will be published this month, with the work being completed in 2018.

Quayle emphasized that the VAT treatment on importing aircraft into the EU is a highly technical and complex area, and that the Isle of Man follows the same policy, laws, and rules as the UK.

Quayle also addressed recent BBC allegations that the island made an order in 2005 to help tax evaders get around the EU Savings Directive, which was introduced to prevent taxpayers in one member state from hiding their assets and income in another member state.

Quayle said the order had never been used, and noted the exchange of information for tax purposes is now governed by the OECD Common Reporting Standard.

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