Tax Haven UK – 3 – Nominees

Posted on

I'm running an occasional series on why the UK is a tax haven. I've already dealt with the domicile rule and the fact UK companies can have bearer shares. There are plenty more to go.

Take the fact that the UK allows a company to have nominee directors, shareholders and a nominee company secretary for a start. All of whom can, of course, work from an accommodation address.

Blow it, if you want Jordans say they will even:

administer many of the business operations of a UK company, including the opening and operation of company bank accounts; raising and dispatch of invoices; payment of suppliers etc.

All the above links are to Jordans bar that for a nominee director: that's deliberate; they're considered one of the best formation agents and will supply all this bar a nominee director. You don't have to go far to find one of them.

What does this mean? Well, in effect that you can set up and run a company in the UK without Companies House or the public having any idea at all who is behind a company. It may even be quite hard for HMRC to find out. The chance of a tax authority in any other country doing so is remote indeed. And that company might really have no substance in the UK at all, which is a classic feature of a tax haven exercise. After all, unless there's no one here why do you need someone to invoice for you from the UK, as Jordans suggest they will? Could it be that at least some of those for whom they provide this service might be engaged in straightforward transfer mis-pricing, even if unknown to the agents involved, who might be an unwitting partner?

This is a charter to encourage abuse. Call it fraud if you like. That fraud is done on people in the UK, HMRC and the tax authorities of the world. And all this is condoned by the UK government. Why is that? Can they name one commercial or other reason why this confidentiality is needed? I cannot think of it. In which case the UK is acting in this way to provide the secrecy space that is associated with a tax haven.

But then, that's what the UK is.