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British territories sign landmark tax disclosure deals

All British overseas territories with major financial centres have now signed agreements on disclosing tax information, the Government has announced.

The British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Anguilla, Bermuda, Montserrat and the Turks and Caicos Islands have agreed to the automatic exchange of information with the UK authorities, together with those in France, Spain, Germany and Italy.

The news follows the recent announcement of similar disclosure agreements between the UK and Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man.

As a result of the agreements, the Government will receive detailed information about bank accounts held in those countries, including the names and personal details of account holders, as well as data relating to account balances and payments.

HM Treasury has already received a payment of £340m following a previous disclosure deal struck with Switzerland, and is set to receive further boosts as a result of the new agreements.

Chancellor George Osborne commented, ‘This represents a significant step forward in tackling illicit finance and sets the global standard in the fight against tax evasion’.

However, some critics have raised concerns about whether HM Revenue & Customs will have sufficient resources to manage the additional information.