IOM 'must act now' to escape Obama blacklist

Author: By Sarah Griffiths
IFAonline | 18 Feb 2009 | 15:45

Categories: Offshore Investment

Topics: Isle of Man| USA| Congress


US attorney and political lobbyist Joseph Brand visited the island last week to talk with chief minister Tony Brown about Washington's legislative moves, according to a local newspaper.

Brand believes a bill will be brought before Congress within the next few weeks and anticipates the new laws coming into force by August.

The Isle of Man government ought to lobby members of Congress to persuade them the island is well regulated and therefore it should not be listed in the proposed legislation, says Brand.

Three bills are being proposed in the States including the Isle of Man within a list of 50 countries described as 'offshore secrecy jurisdictions' and 'tax havens'.

"The list makes no distinction at all between what are top grade, offshore financial centres and what are fly-by night, launder your money here type jurisdictions," he says.

Brand says the US Treasury has not defined what constitutes a 'tax haven' in the proposed legislation which gives the Isle of Man an opportunity to justify to Congress its exclusion form the list on grounds it is well regulated.

However, there is not much time for the island to get the bill amended. "Once it is law you can't change it," he says.

Brand expects Senator Carl Levin's sponsored bill, the 'Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act' to progress rapidly. The proposition was supported by Barack Obama before he took office. Levin claims tax havens rob US workers of jobs and with unemployment soaring, the bill is a support-winning issue.

If the bills are passed and include the Isle of Man in their listing, it could make it illegal for US firms to register on the island.


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