MPs reject further push for transparency in overseas territories

The UK government will seek a “grown-up discussion” with G-20 partners about tax transparency, a minister said as MPs rejected proposed measures intended to press the UK’s crown dependencies and overseas territories to adopt public registers of beneficial ownership.

The Criminal Finances Bill completed its House of Commons stages on February 21. An amendment intended to secure public registers of beneficial ownership of companies registered in crown dependencies was defeated 301 to 188 …

“It damages our reputation that the British Virgin Islands was the most mentioned tax haven in the Panama Papers,” Labour MP Caroline Flint said. “We know that future leaks are coming, so why cannot we get ahead of the game and ensure transparency now?”

Responding for the government, Home Office Minister Ben Wallace told Flint that he had raised the issue of public registers two weeks earlier with representatives of the crown dependencies and overseas territories. Read more:

My news story for Tax Analysts, 24 February (paywall)

Parliament: Criminal Finances Bill