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Government to share tax information with a number of new countries

Author
Jason Walls, NZ Herald,
Section
Politics,
Publish Date
Tuesday, 5 March 2019, 8:28p.m.
Stuart Nash says it will help crack down on tax evasion. (Photo / File)
Stuart Nash says it will help crack down on tax evasion. (Photo / File)

The Government is joining forces with tax haven heavyweights Panama and Switzerland to combat tax evasion on a global scale.

Cabinet has agreed to add another 30 territories to the list of countries New Zealand shares tax information with.

The Cook Islands, Turkey, Pakistan, Nigeria, as well as Panama and Switzerland, are some of the countries that will join the already 60-country strong list of places New Zealand already has a tax information-sharing agreement with.

"The addition of 30 new territories reflects increased international co-operation by OECD and G20 countries to crack down on tax evasion," Revenue Minister Stuart Nash said.

The move comes as part of a global standard known as the Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI) – a nationwide coalition whereby tax authorities exchange information to ensure everyone pays the right amount.

It enables information sharing about details of accounts at many institutions, including banks, private equity funds, investment advisers and some brokers and trusts.

New Zealand already shares tax information with the likes of the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, South Africa, Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Nash said the expanding list further increases the ability to ensure all New Zealanders pay their fair share of tax, including those who have financial interests in other countries.

Inland Revenue will review the information and verify that the correct tax is being paid on offshore investments.

"New Zealand taxpayers are strongly advised to check they have correctly accounted for their offshore investments. If not, they should make a voluntary disclosure to Inland Revenue without delay," Nash said.

Greens' Co-Leader James Shaw supported the move.

"Tax evaders have been able to avoid paying their fair share of tax that goes towards hospitals and schools, while the rest of us chip in."

He said the Government's move would ensure this happens less and less.

Today's announcement comes not long after the Government moved to implement a digital services tax – a 3 or 4 per cent tax on the revenue of digital giants such as Facebook and Google.

 

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