Double taxation arrangements specified by Order in Council

Part of Finance (No. 2) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 10:00 am ar 16 Ionawr 2018.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Mel Stride Mel Stride Financial Secretary to the Treasury and Paymaster General 10:00, 16 Ionawr 2018

On the hon. Lady’s point around the different models—the OECD and the UN models—a number of countries have signed up to the MLI, and implicit in those discussions will be the kinds of issues that she has touched on, but it might be of interest to her that the Government do expect the UN to update them on the treaty in the light of what has been agreed within the MLI, which clearly we will be keeping a close eye on.

I said earlier that I did not have an answer to the hon. Lady’s specific question, but I now do—through a form of divine inspiration known as the officials of Her Majesty’s Treasury. Saudi Arabia is indeed not a signatory to the MLI initiative, but we hope that it will be signing in future, at which point we would intend that our treaty be amended accordingly to accommodate that.

On the hon. Lady’s point about mandatory binding arbitration, one of the points that I should have made earlier is in the context of how fair or otherwise this is on the countries with which we enter into those particular arrangements. Once arbitration is entered into, two arbitrators are appointed—one by each country—so this is not a stacked jury in any sense, and it will be for them, impartially and properly, through the normal processes, to come to their conclusions.

The issue of transparency and the disclosure of the outcomes of arbitrations really falls within the area of tax confidentiality. Inevitably, within those arrangements where companies, and indeed eventually individuals, are involved, it is important that we maintain the rigorous tradition that we have in our country of complete impartiality when it comes to HMRC, our tax affairs, investigations, arbitrations and so on.

The hon. Lady asked specific questions about US policy, which is probably a stretch too far for me to reach on this occasion, but if she has specific questions that relate to UK Treasury interaction with the US as an overseas tax authority, I would be happy to consider any representations that she would like to make.