Thursday, 12 May 2016

Tax Havens: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office View

In it’s most recent and fascinating 2012 major review The Overseas Territories, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office tells us that

 “ there are many economic success stories. Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands and the Cayman Islands have developed important niche positions in international financial markets”

and of the Cayman Islands it adds approvingly, 

“There is no national insurance, no income or payroll tax, no company or corporation tax, no inheritance tax, no capital gains or gift taxes and no VAT”. 

The FCO notes that “The UK Parliament has unlimited power to legislate for the Territories” and is clearly very pleased with the legislation which has enabled territories like the Cayman Islands to achieve security, success and sustainability - the three words picked for the sub-title of a fascinating 128 page publication which you can download

The Cayman Islaands and all the others repay the United Kingdom by putting the Queen Mother and the latest Royal Babies all over their postage stamps

If you enjoy Pub quizzes, you will know the names of the fourteen remaining British Overseas Territories, but just in case here is the list:

Anguilla, Bermuda, British Antarctic Teritory (BAT), British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT), Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, Pitcairn (with which are grouped Henderson, Ducie and Oneo), Saint Helena (with which are grouped Ascension and Tristan da Cunha), South Georgia and the South Shetland Islands (SGSSI), Sovereign Base Areas of Akotiri and Dhekalia on Cyprus, Turks and Caicos Islands, Virgin Islands.

Of these the following are either uninhabited or are home only to rotating military or scientific personnel: BAT, BIOT, Henderson, Ducie, Oneo, Ascension, SGSSI, For BAT and SGSSI, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office records the indigenous penguin population for which it is responsibe.

The Channel Islands and Isle of Man do not count as Overseas Territories; they are called Crown Dependencies and are licensed to rip us off under more feudal arrangements. Nonetheless, Parliament is still supreme in relation to them: there is nothing to stop us offering them the choice of incorporation in to the UK and its laws and tax regime or, alternatively, independence - in which case they could risk sanctions for hostile actions against the interests of the UK. Dream on ...

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