Warning: tax havens getting ready to wriggle out of global transparency initiatives

   0   0 Blog
Bahamas-Tax-Haven

The Atlantis Paradise Island Resort in the Bahamas, where some of its tax haven “clients” stay and play

We’ve written a lot about new international standards on transparency that are coming through: technically and politically, they are a vast improvement on a terrible situation – notably the commitment to automatic information exchange – but there’s much still to be desired.

One thing we’ve been watching for a while is tax havens paying lip service to joining in the international reforms, while looking for get-out clauses.

In this vein, here’s something from the Bahamas, which is quite open about its rejection of certain transparency standards.

“The Bahamas’ unique approach to the implementation of the [OECD] Standard in the best interests of the jurisdiction and the clients we serve. Of utmost importance to The Bahamas is that the receiving country is an “appropriate” country for the receipt of such information, including that such country has in place the safeguards necessary to ensure the confidentiality, safety and proper use of the information exchanged.”

In other words, we’ll summarise:

“we’re going to pretend to implement the international standard, but we are going to decide unilaterally which countries we’ll exchange with. We and our “clients” in those countries will continue to profit from those poor countries that are most vulnerable to our tax haven industry, as we harbour and handle their venal élites’ looted assets, safe in the knowledge that these looted assets can be excluded from transparency and accountability . . .  because of all the venality that we’re helping to facilitate and perpetuate!”

It takes quite some chutzpah to make an argument like that. (And before you start thinking that Bahamas still has a point about “safeguards” – consider all this.)

This Bahamian position is an outrage. This is as clear an example of a tax haven thumbing its nose at the international community (and at its close neighbours) as you could wish to find.

The international community needs to wheel out sanctions for countries like Bahamas that don’t comply with the accepted standards of civilised society. At the very least, countries that are victims of these criminalised activities should take matters into their own hands, as Colombia has done with Panama.

 

 


Related Posts

New estimates reveal the extent of tax avoidance by multinationals

Price Waterhouse CoopersNew figures published today by the Tax Justice Network provide a country-level breakdown of the estimated tax losses to profit shifting by multinational companies. Applying a methodology developed by researchers at the International Monetary Fund to an improved dataset, the results indicate global losses of around $500 billion a year. The figures appear in a […]

READ MORE →

Banking Secrecy in China, its related territories and Taiwan

Hong Kong from Sky 100Foreword. The Tax Justice Network is a non partisan network of experts working towards transparency, so we do not take any position about countries’ territorial and political claims. However, we do expect countries with a de jure (legal) or de facto (in practice) influence over other territories, to take responsibility for their power. We point […]

READ MORE →

Is tax avoidance at the heart of Ireland’s economic miracle?

AIB International Finance Centre Dublin - By Estoy Aquí (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia CommonsComing out of the economic crisis Ireland was one of the best performing economies, with GDP growth rates of 8.5% in 2014 and an extraordinary 26.3% in 2015. But how much of this economic activity was real, and how much a fiction created by Ireland’s tax haven status? A new paper by Heike Joebges of the University […]

READ MORE →

New Report: HMRC’s “Building our Future” programme

bigben-mcbigbenfaceYesterday the Tax Justice Network was in the UK Parliament to launch a report it co-produced with the Public and Commercial Services Union. The report, entitled “HMRC, Building an Uncertain Future” is a study of HMRC’s (the UK tax authority) reform plans which it is calling “Building our Future”. The report published yesterday analysed the […]

READ MORE →

Financial secrecy in football: time for action

bigben-mcbigbenfaceEveryone has known for years that football is rotten to the core and financial secrecy is at the heart of the problem. Why then is no one doing anything about it? This post from the Offshore Game project originally features in the Independent. 

READ MORE →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to Top