Last week the Isle of Man became the first British dependency to sign an agreement with the UK on automatic sharing of tax information. The signing of a tax information-sharing agreement with the Isle of Man is a "momentous step forward in tax transparency" according to UK Chancellor George Osborne. "The Isle of Man should be recognised as the first jurisdiction to sign an agreement of this kind with the UK."

The UK is looking to agree similar deals with both Guernsey and Jersey.

Mr Osborne said: "The agreement we have now signed with the Isle of Man is a momentous step forward in tax transparency, showing that when we work together we can push the international agenda forward." Under the accord, the island and the UK will automatically exchange a wide range of information on residents' tax issues, on a reciprocal basis. The island already shares information automatically on personal savings income with the UK and other EU countries but the new agreement will extend disclosure to include companies and trusts as from 2016.

The agreement has been signed by Manx Chief Minister, Allan Bell and HM Treasury Exchequer Secretary, David Gauke. On signing the historic agreement, Mr Bell MHK said: "We are underlining the message to our neighbours and the wider world that our island is a responsible centre for top quality international business." He said the deal would come as no surprise to the island's business community with whom the government had consulted widely. Mr Bell continued, "The Isle of Man was the first to strike this agreement with the UK and we are now the first to sign, demonstrating the clear commitment of both countries to the development of a new global standard in automatic exchange."

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