Iceland passed legislation that will make secret off-shore accounts very difficult to maintain for tax dodgers.
RÚV reports that as of the start of this year, the Directorate of Internal Revenue will have access to the details of all overseas bank accounts held by Icelandic companies and individuals. The legislation, which is designed to prevent tax evasion, puts Iceland amongst 52 other countries within the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) with similar legislation.
Directorate head Skúli Eggert Þórðarson told reporters that these countries will openly share bank account information with each other, and give tax authorities within those countries access to bank records.
“It matters a great deal because we will have all information regarding the contents of foreign bank accounts through this process,” he told reporters. “People can no longer hide from certain countries under anonymous bank accounts.”
Tax evasion became a hot topic in Iceland earlier this year, when a whistleblower at banking giant HSBC revealed how the company helped numerous individuals hide their money from tax authorities in their home countries, including six individuals with ties to Iceland across 18 accounts. This became the catalyst for a drive to crack down on tax evasion in Iceland.