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Jersey Responds To UK's Miliband

by Jason Gorringe, Lowtax.net, London
26 February, 2015

Jersey's Chief Minister has written to Ed Miliband reiterating the island's commitment to transparency and efforts to tackle tax evasion, and inviting him to visit Jersey to see for himself how the financial services industry operates.

In his letter, which comes in response to Miliband's recent comments to the UK press on "tax havens," Chief Minister Ian Gorst, said: "Although Jersey is largely autonomous from the United Kingdom, the island has enjoyed a close and mutually beneficial relationship with successive UK Governments for many years, working collaboratively to fight financial crime and raise international standards. In addition, we have worked co-operatively with the UK government in recent years to deal with aggressive tax avoidance practices. It was, therefore, with disappointment that I read your statement in press reports..."

He noted the numerous initiatives undertaken by the territory to establish itself at the forefront of international tax transparency efforts, and directed Miliband to the 2013 report "Jersey's value to Britain," produced by Capital Economics. He noted its findings that the island's financial services sector is a significant contributor to the UK economy, adding over GBP9bn a year, and supporting some 180,000 jobs.

He highlighted that Jersey is the vice chair of the OECD Working Group on the global standard for automatic exchange and shares the same OECD rating as the UK, the US, and Germany, for the application of international standards on information exchange, supported by the signing of some thirty six tax information exchange agreements and Jersey's participation in the Multilateral Convention.

Gorst also pointed out that Jersey is one of the very few jurisdictions in the world with an effective registry of beneficial ownership (as distinct from a registry of shareholders who may be nominees), a practice not yet adopted by the G20, OECD or EU member states.

The letter concluded by inviting Miliband and the Opposition's Treasury team to meet and discuss tax transparency and disclosure.

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