Why the UK can’t sign TIEAs

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The standard OECD Tax Information Exchange Agreement includes this clause in Article 5:

4. Each Contracting Party shall ensure that its competent authorities for the purposes specified in Article 1 of the Agreement, have the authority to obtain and provide upon request:

a) information held by banks, other financial institutions, and any person acting in an agency or fiduciary capacity including nominees and trustees;

b) information regarding the ownership of companies, partnerships, trusts, foundations, “Anstalten” and other persons, including, within the constraints of Article 2, ownership information on all such persons in an ownership chain; in the case of trusts, information on settlors, trustees and beneficiaries; and in the case of foundations, information on founders, members of the foundation council and beneficiaries. Further, this Agreement does not create an obligation on the Contracting Parties to obtain or provide ownership information with respect to publicly traded companies or public collective investment funds or schemes unless such information can be obtained without giving rise to disproportionate difficulties.

But the UK can’t secure the data required by para (b).

It’s about time we could. Starting now.

We should be hanging our heads in shame. So should the USA — because I don’t believe this is possible in Delaware.

It’s time to get acts together. Cayman has, I am pretty sure, rumbled this. And as a result are going to get away with a DTA that is almost meaningless.

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