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When the Past, Present and Future, meet.

December 2010 - Tax & Private Client. Legal Developments by Hassans.

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'Tax havens' have come under considerable outside pressure over the last 10 years. As a Gibraltar legal practitioner, I took an early professional interest in writing about developments in the offshore industry and I could sense the change in the wind and prevailing currents that had propelled a handful of small jurisdictions into the forefront of international finance.

I took the view that they could not afford to remain still. They would simply not be allowed to do so. A draft 'European Union Code of Conduct on Business Taxation' was being put together (although its conclusions were only to be published on 1 December 1997). It interested me enough to put pen to paper and on the 25 November 1997 I produced a discussion document entitled "Tax Harmonisation Proposals and Reform of the Tax System". It was a Gibraltar-centric document which set out a 'road map' for change of the Gibraltar tax system. I do not normally keep copies of the numerous papers I have written over the years but I kept this one, gathering dust somewhere. 13 years have since passed and much has happened over this period, including the near meltdown of the global financial system that led to the massive bail out of international banks. In short, the message delivered to tax havens was, embrace change or face extinction.

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