Yes, Britain is closing its tax havens. But let’s not forget it created them in the first place

This post is jointly authored by Anthea Lawson and John Christensen,

Tax justice campaigners celebrated this week as a nifty cross-party move from British Members of Parliament Margaret Hodge and Andrew Mitchell forced the UK’s Overseas Territories – many of them in the Caribbean – to stop hiding the owners of companies they incorporate.

The impact of the secretive company incorporation regime in the British Virgin Islands, one of the Overseas Territories, is well documented, not least in the Panama Papers, which could just as well have been called the BVI Papers since so many of the front companies were registered there. It fuels industrial-scale tax evasion and avoidance, corruption and crime, with consequences around the world, often for the poorest. The BVI had 417,000 companies last year – 18 for each inhabitant, and the Tax Justice Network estimates that this jurisdiction alone might be responsible for global tax losses of $37.5 billion.


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