Sweden steps up tax haven chase

Swedes with accounts in banks on the British islands of Jersey and Guernsey may soon want to look for other tax havens.

In an effort to step up its hunt for missing tax revenues, the Swedish Tax Authority (Skatteverket) is close to inking agreements with the two Channel Islands that would allow for increased information exchange, reports Sveriges Radio.

At present, the two islands only give out information in cases involving police or suspicions of major crimes.

But starting in October, Sweden’s tax authority, along with those from Denmark, Norway, and Finland, will find itself will be allowed greater access to information about accounts held in Jersey and Guernsey.

The agreement comes following international pressure in recent years.

Colin Powell, head of Jersey’s financial authority, wants the island to be seen as a respectable financial center which offers little or no tax.

“Jersey’s future rests in following international standards in this area,” he told Sveriges Radio.

The Swedish state estimates it loses 46 billion kronor ($7.6 billion) in unpaid taxes annually due to income being shielded in accounts held in offshore tax havens.

It remains unclear, however, how much of the missing money may be held on Jersey or Guernsey.

Skatteverket already has an agreement with the Isle of Man, British island which has served as a destination for funds from people hoping to avoid paying taxes in Sweden.