The Guardian has, I think fairly based on my briefings, summarised Downing Street's tax objectives for the G8 as being:
1. Strong G8 political support for a new OECD action plan due to be given to G20 finance ministers in July setting out how to end corporation tax loopholes covering issues such as transfer pricing, intellectual property and country by country reporting. Final outcome in two years
2. Clear support at special meeting on Saturdayfrom UK crown dependencies and overseas territories to sign OECD agreement on transfer of tax information on request.
3. G8 political support to develop worldwide standard on automatic tax information transfer based on a pilot agreed, but not implemented between the US, G5 and some UK Crown dependencies. This currently excludes developing countries.
4. A G8 agreement on beneficial ownership, a means of revealing the true identity of shell companies, mainly in tax havens. The register will either be accessible to public or tax authorities.
5. Agreement to help developing countries build their tax base and handle tax information.
The first is easy: support comes cheap.
The second is unlikely: Bermuda has cold feet and Cayman is luke warm. Jersey will join that pack.
Agreeing to automatic information exchange would be welcome, but it would be fairly empty rhetoric without information on beneficial ownership. Canada, the UDS and Russia are objecting to that and the UK simply does not have such data. The tax havens are saying no. This one is going to be the stumbling block.
I'd love to see real help for developing countries. We'll get a commitment instead and that's not the same thing.
But I may be proved wrong by Tuesday night when I'll be flying back from Enniskillen. I hope so. But am not holding my breath.