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Chancellor Osborne signs new deal with Cayman Islands

Finally, it’s going to be a lot harder to run tax avoidance schemes out of the Cayman Islands now that Chancellor George Osborne has signed off on a new plan.

No longer will the Caymans be the first stop for anyone looking to get away scot-free from their responsibilities to pay their fair share to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs. The new deal signed by Chancellor Osborne will see the Caribbean’s favourite tax haven share its account information with HMRC, obviating the benefits of its tax haven status for depositors.

If you ask me, it’s about bloody time a deal like this has been struck! HMRC is losing so much damned revenue from legitimate cases of tax evasion and tax avoidance – cases that up until now it’s not been able to do anything about because of tax havens like the Caymans – that the taxman has been reduced to hunting for whatever loose pennies it can squeeze out of small business owners. Freelancers and contractors have weathered the brunt of these blows lately, suffering under obtuse IR35 regulations that have seen completely innocent self-employed individuals baldly persecuted by HMRC, especially since there was no recourse for going after major multinationals that funneled their earnings offshore to avoid paying tax on it, but now this new agreement between the UK and the Cayman Islands is the first step in turning over the rocks that these tax cheats are all hiding under.

This is truly a banner moment in the history of combating tax avoidance, as far as I’m concerned. Sure, there will be other ways and means of weaseling out of paying your fair share – it’s human nature that people just like to steal from the Government almost as much as the Government likes to steal from its people, after all – but it’s past time that these loopholes have been closed on a more permanent basis. I cannot wait to hear all the wailing and gnashing of teeth from all the people and businesses that get caught red-handed using the Caymans as a tax shelter now. I know it’s small-mined and petty of me, but a little schadenfreude must come into all our lives now and again, doesn’t it?

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