Friday 20 September 2013
Thursday 19 September 2013, the Treasury & Resources Minister and the Home Department Minister attended the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Income Tax and the Guernsey Border Agency.
The Financial Investigation Unit (FIU) of the Guernsey Border Agency has the law enforcement lead for investigating financial crime. As an operational MOU, it was signed by Mr Patrick Rice, Head of Law Enforcement and Mr Rob Gray, Director of Income Tax.
The Income Tax Office and the FIU already exchange financial information in relation to tackling financial crime and the assessment, collection and enforcement of income tax through legal gateways.
This MOU is a further step in support of the Bailiwick's commitment towards meeting international standards to investigate money laundering and the financing of terrorism (FATF AML/FT recommendations) and upholding the standards of the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes.
This MOU will further enhance operational cooperation when conducting financial investigations into offences of money laundering, tax evasion and other financial crime, in addition to seeking to confiscate the proceeds of crime and to recover unpaid income tax, together with any associated penalties.
The expertise, knowledge and skills of the respective authorities will be available to conduct joint operations and collaborate on specific projects as multi disciplined teams to maximise the Bailiwick's effectiveness in tackling financial crime and investigating suspected tax evasion and avoidance.
Both ministers have confirmed a major driver to the signing of the MOU is to send out a very clear and unequivocal message that financial crime does not pay.
Deputy Gavin St Pier, Minister Treasury & Resources Department, comments:
"I welcome and fully support the signing of this Memorandum of Understanding. This will enhance the existing ability for the Director of Income Tax to liaise with Law Enforcement to not only assist in the combating of money laundering and terrorist financing but to also effectively investigate cases of domestic tax evasion and avoidance. Joint initiatives such as this ensure that appropriate resources can be dedicated to this important aspect of the work carried out by the Income Tax Office."
Deputy Jonathan Le Tocq, Home Department Minister, stated:
"This MOU will ensure that the States of Guernsey can deploy their resources to achieve maximum benefit in this difficult financial period. It is vital that the identification and recovery of the proceeds of crime, including tax evasion are efficiently and effectively managed. This operational MOU will allow us to further enhance our joint ability to do that."
Head of Law Enforcement, Patrick Rice, said:
"This is another vital step in building our capacity to investigate complex economic crimes. It is a clear message to the international community that Guernsey is a safe jurisdiction in which to conduct your business."
The Director of Income Tax, Rob Gray, said:
"Today's signing is a continuation of the efforts between Law Enforcement and the Income Tax Office to combine our resources and expertise to the benefit of the Island, ensuring both Guernsey's international reputation, as a proactive jurisdiction in combating money laundering, tax evasion and other financial crimes, is upheld and domestic tax evasion and avoidance is robustly investigated."
The operational issues addressed in the Memorandum of Understanding are also aligned with the "whole-of-government approach to combating financial crime" as detailed in the OECD report-Effective Inter-Agency Co-operation in Fighting Tax Crimes and other Financial Crimes.
Finally, the Director would like to thank those members of the public who provide information concerning suspected tax evasion or avoidance. Whilst it is common to receive information in the form of letters or e-mails, a dedicated Tax Evasion Hotline* is also available enabling members of the public to pass on information in the strictest confidence, and anonymously if they wish.
*The number of the Tax Evasion Hotline is 747900.
Information can also be sent by e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org, which again, is treated in strict confidence