Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Canada's weak laws hobble identification of tax dodgers

Ugland House is the registered office of some 18,000 companies, on Grand
Cayman Island. Caribbean and Atlantic offshore finance centres were at the
heart of the Panama Papers investigation.
Correspondence between Finance Minister Bill Morneau and his British equivalent is highlighting Canada's poor international record in flushing out the real owners of suspected tax-haven corporations.

Philip Hammond, Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer, wrote to Morneau on Dec. 22, seeking Canada's support for exchanges of so-called "beneficial ownership" information — that is, information about who really owns and controls mystery corporations.

Last year, Britain pioneered a publicly accessible online registry that contains such ownership data, part of an initiative to help expose tax evaders, terrorist financiers and money launderers.

Hammond's letter was part of his call for reciprocal measures from other countries, including Canada, given that such shady transactions are often conducted offshore.

But a Morneau briefing note about the British request acknowledges Canada has little to offer in response, largely because federal and provincial laws governing corporations are ineffective.  (more...)


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