PM promises database to reveal “shadowy” tax companies
David Cameron has pledged to introduce new measures to stop tax evasion that include establishing a central register to scrutinise “shadowy” shell companies used by businesses to avoid tax.
In a major crack down on shell companies located in offshore tax havens, the prime minister promised that “secretive companies in secretive locations” will be exposed. This exposure could help save billions of pounds through lost tax revenue.
In an interview with The Guardian, the prime minister stated: “The way to sweep away the secrecy, and get to the bottom of tax avoidance and tax evasion, and cracking down on corruption, is to have a register of beneficial ownerships so the tax authorities can see who owns beneficially every company.”
He added: “They use shadowy nominee companies where you can’t see who the beneficial owner is and that is why who benefits is so important.”
Cameron hopes to set an example for other G8 leaders at the summit on Monday in Northern Ireland, where he will ask those present, including Barak Obama, to agree to a new set of core values on taxation.
The new changes will be integrated into law under the EU’s fourth money-laundering directive and would require companies to obtain and reveal information on the true beneficial owner of companies.
The register will initially be available only to Revenue and Customs, though talks are expected as to whether opening it up to the public would be in the British businesses’ best interest.
Cameron explained: “I am sure that that is where I would like to end up, but I do not want to disadvantage Britain by doing something others won’t do. I don’t also want to give up our leverage on others by trying to make them move at the same time.”
According to The Guardian, Brendan Cox, a spokesperson for the If campaign, praised Cameron’s “fight against tax evasion”.
“They would mean all countries had access to the data and the ‘many eyes’ principle would mean more effective scrutiny.”
The prime minister concluded: “I feel very passionately about it. The more I have looked into it the more I can see that unless you take action on the tax and transparency agendas you will never get the sort of development and change we want to see.”