Another step on the way to tackling tax fugitives

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Sometimes small changes that are important pass almost unnoticed.

Take Statutory Instrument 2008 No. 2871, appealingly entitled "RECOVERY OF TAXES" and subtitled "The Recovery of Taxes etc Due in Other Member States (Amendment of Section 134 of the Finance Act 2002) Regulations 2008".

It may have passed you by (though heaven knows how) but it is important. It fundamentally updates a piece of 1976 regulation throughout the EU, and in doing so it reflects a major cultural change. Back in 1976 there was almost no culture of countries assisting each other in the collection of taxes owing to another state. Indeed, in very many places that was seen as taboo, and so the tax exile was not someone who was just avoiding tax, many were also evading tax that they knew they owed, but which their home state could not collect.

This culture is changing. There is now widespread cooperation in the EU to recover tax owing. Places like Spain which used to be seen as beyond the law in this respect are now fully cooperating.

The change has to go further: we need to co-operate with developing countries. We clearly need much more corporation from tax havens. But change is happening. And that is very important indeed. It's becoming harder to evade your tax and I like that.