European tax compliance initiatives have yielded considerable revenues.

Finance firms based in Jersey were recently lauded by the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes, tasked with assessing how well the sector responded to international standards for tax information.

Jersey has responded to 84 information requests to date, and was described by the forum as being “effective and expeditious” with its responses. The Peer Review Group that assessed Jersey also commented that its firms tended to respond much faster than those in other territories. The island was one of two non-OECD jurisdictions to participate in the review.

Jersey met the Group’s standards in six of the nine areas under review and the government has announced that changes are being made to ensure the island is fully compliant. While areas for improvement were recommended, they were not in areas that prevented Jersey from engaging in effective information exchange.

Geoff Cook, Chief Executive of Jersey Finance Limited (which promotes the island’s financial services industry), commented:

So often we hear detractors make misleading claims that Jersey is secretive and unco-operative and yet the truth based on hard evidence is very different.

In addition to Jersey, the Forum has conducted 58 other reports, the results of which were presented at the recent Cannes G20 Summit. They describe each jurisdiction’s rules for ensuring that information is available to the tax authorities, how it can be accessed by authorities and the mechanisms in place to exchange information with foreign tax authorities. They also identify deficiencies and make recommendations on how to address them.

Common deficiencies across all reviews relate to: the lack of available ownership information as regards trusts and bearer shares; incomplete accounting information for some forms of trusts, companies and partnerships (including foreign entities); and limitations in the authorities’ powers to access information requested by foreign authorities.