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UK Minister Says Isle of Man Can Ignore EU Tax Proposals

Mandy Robinson, Tax-news.com, London

17 November 2000


The Isle of Man has the right to determine its own tax strategies despite measures by the European Union on business and savings taxation. This is the clear message from Lord Bassam of Brighton, the UK Home Office Minister responsible for the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.

In June this year EU member states agreed to promote and encourage the adoption of EU proposals for a savings directive in their dependencies. At the request of the Council of Ministers, Lord Bassam, Parliamentary under-secretary of state, visited the Isle of Man to address their concerns over the likelihood of the UK enforcing the directive in the island.

At the meeting Lord Bassam stated that the UK Government recognised the Isle of Man's constitutional postition and reiterated that its Protocol Three relationship with the EU does not cover taxation policies. Therefore, he stressed, the Isle of Man was not legally bound to participate.

He also indicated that the UK recognises the Island’s constitutional right to refuse to take part in the European exchange of information system if that was its decision.

The news was welcomed by Manx Chief Minister Donald Gelling, who stated in a press release issued by the government: 'The Council of Ministers appreciates that Lord Bassam took the trouble to come to the Island to respond to our questions on this issue, and we take comfort from what he had to say. He reinforced our view that the Island would not be obliged to accept the EU system.'

Mr Gelling added: 'It is the policy of the Isle of Man Government to observe international standards in these matters and we remain confident of our ability to do so by way of agreement with the OECD.'

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