Jersey quandary over tax directive

The Jersey government has announced its intention to introduce legislation that will mean EU residents who invest on the island will no longer be exempt from tax payments in their native country

However, there is concern on the island that if it enacts the proposed legislation while some EU member states do not, then Jersey will be set at a commercial disadvantage.
The aim of the legislation, which is contained in a draft EU directive – The Effective Taxation of Savings Income Directive July 2001 – is to ensure that EU residents cannot avoid or evade tax in their home member state by not declaring income arising out of investments in another member state.
John Greenfield, managing partner of Guernsey firm Carey Langlois, said that the state of Jersey only took this step after “implied sanctions” were levelled against it by the UK Government.
“There was a polite but difficult dialogue [between Jersey and the UK Government] which has not been too warm, and which has led to statements by Gordon Brown, while not naming Jersey, involving threats of unspecified sanctions against countries that do not cooperate,” said Greenfield.
He added: “There has been more pressure on Jersey than Guernsey, which has agreed in principle but with the caveat that all jurisdictions should make the same commitment.”
Switzerland is not in favour of the new legislation, and Austria, Belgium and Luxembourg have opted for a seven-year transition period before the enactment of the law.
Jersey and Guernsey say that they will remain reluctant to endorse the proposed directive so long as elements of the EU, which the legislation directly applies to, remain hostile to the legislation.