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Japan to track down overseas financial accounts of residents

TOKYO, Jan 19 (KUNA) -- Japan's government plans to gather information on the Japanese residents' overseas financial holdings in an effort to keep tabs on the wealthy people who exploit tax loopholes on an international scale, a top-selling business daily reported here Monday.
The National Tax Agency will work with the counterparts around the world, including, significantly, the authorities in tax havens, the Nikkei Shimbun said.
Some JPY 16.3 billion (USD 138 million) in inherited overseas assets went unreported in Japan in the 2013 tax year, a more than six-fold increase from the previous year.
Starting in 2014, Japanese residents with more than JPY 50 million (USD 430,000) in overseas assets are required to report them for tax purposes.
To strengthen enforcement, Japan will work with the 34 members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development as well as the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Bermuda, the Isle of Man and other jurisdictions known for their few-questions-asked tax policies, the newspaper said.
The National Tax Agency will collect information on deposits, brokerage accounts and other types of financial accounts. Such details will include names and addresses of account holders, account balances, and interest and dividend payments.
By September of 2018, it hopes to assemble a picture of these accounts as of the end of the previous year.
The agency will then update its information annually using online links with its overseas counterparts. In return, Japan will provide the other countries with information on Japanese accounts held by their nationals.
Many countries have bilateral agreements on sharing tax-related information, but they have mostly exchanged records of money transfers, not account balances.
Moreover, these exchanges do not adhere to any fixed schedule and go by mail, making them ineffective for catching tax dodgers, the report added. (end) mk.ibi