Offshore History

Finance Curse

Histories of tax havens, secrecy jurisdictions or offshore financial centres, or of international tax and regulation. 

History of TJN

History of tax havens: the infographic.

Offshore Histories of:
United Kingdom
Hong Kong
More here

International Business Taxation – Prof. Sol Picciotto. From 1992, a free, detailed history of international tax.

Offshore history links

June 10, 2014 – How Seychelles became the world’s first socialist tax haven 

Aug 20, 2013 – Michael J. McIntyre, tax justice hero, 1942-2013

June 26, 2013 – Tax justice and a short history of the decline of corporate responsibility

June 11, 2013 – An informal history of tax justice. With a particular focus on the Tax Justice Network.

Feb 16, 2013 – short potted history of offshore, The Economist

Feb 4, 2013 – The role of tax justice in U.S. economic history, and other stories. Original here.

Aug 20, 2012 – Ronen Palan: a history of the City of London as an offshore centre. “Britain’s Second Empire.”

Oct 24, 2011 – Bob McIntyre: remembering the U.S. tax reform of 1986. Original here.

Sept 2011 – No vote, no tax – the Suffragettes and their tax protest

July 2011 – The Swiss Tax Haven in the Interwar Period: an International Comparison, Christophe Farquet

July 2011 – The Ideology of Offshore: how the unthinkable became practice

Dec 2010 – Tax Analysts 40th anniversary commemorative book, where 50 tax folk are invited to answer the question: What is one of the most significant changes to tax administration, practice, or policy that you have seen in your professional career? Available free, here.

Dec 2010 – Liberia’s shipping industry, MIT Press Journals. Article here.

Dec 2010 –

Oct 2010 – The rise and rise of Britain’s tax haven empire. A look at some aspects of Britain’s rush to set up and protect Caribbean tax havens from the 1970s.

Oct 2010 – Caroline Doggart, Tax Haven Woman. The story of a woman who became one of the world’s first tax haven analysts, working for the Economist Intelligence Unit.

2010 – A history of tax havens, by Ronen Palan. A broad historical overview of the offshore system and its emergence.

2009-10 (various) – A history of the Cayman Islands as a tax haven. By Alan Markoff. Originalhere.

Dec 2008 – History of Singapore’s emergence as a tax haven. Original articles herehere andhere.

Oct 2008 – Short history primer on international tax, New Internationalist magazine

Feb 2008 – This paper by Michael Lennard, The Purpose and Current Status of the United Nations Tax Work, explores the history and role of the United Nations in international taxation, and the current role of the U.N. Tax Committee. It was updated in February 2010, also in the Asia-Pacific Tax Bulletin, here.

June 2007 – Lessons from the last war on tax havens. Marty Sullivan of Tax Analysts looks at the history of the OECD’s Harmful Tax Competition project, and how it was killed by lobbyists in Washington and others.

2006  Taxation and American slavery. Robin Einhorn of the University of California Berkeleytraces the roots of anti-tax ideology in  American history to disputes about the taxation of slaves as persons and property.

Jan 2005 – Tax avoidance, tax havens and the genesis of the Tax Justice Network – TJN(NB the contact details provided are now out of date.)

Aug 2003 – a history of information exchange. A United Nations report in the wake of the Monterrey Consensus looking at how, among other things, the OECD stymied efforts by developing countries to get a fairer international tax system. Original document here.

March 2003 – The Declaration of the Tax Justice Network, Essex, 2005

Oct 2002 – No Accounting for Tax Havens.This paper by the Association for Accountancy & Business Affairs (AABA) examines selected issues and episodes in the history of the British Crown Dependency of Jersey. Chapter 6: A Legislature for Hire provides an especially instructive (and important) example of the ways in which private interests shape can shape offshore and onshore legislation.

April 2002 – Délinquance financière et blanchiment des capitaux, a series of reports (in French) from the Assemblée Nationale in France. Focusing on

June 2001 – The Zedillo Report, or the Report of the High-Level Panel on Financing for Development. Discussing, among other things, the possibility of an International Tax Organisation.

2000 – The Origins of Swiss Bank Secrecy. The must-read article for those interested in the issue, by Professor Sébastien Guex of the University of Lausanne. Among other things, it demolishes the widely circulated myth that it was set up to help protect German Jews.

Oct 1998 – The Edwards Report – before and after. A look at how a UK government report critical of UK-focused tax havens got whitewashed. Main articles here.

April 1998 – OECD report Harmful Tax Competition: an Emerging Global Issue. This report, critical of tax havens and tax competition, was killed by Washington lobbyists and U.S. Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill during the administration of George W. Bush. The story of how it was killed is available from a TaxAnalysts book review, here.

Oct 1996 – Appel de Genève. Seven top judges issue a statement – more of a cry of rage – against tax havens.

From 1995 – Taxanalysts Tax History project. With a heavily U.S.-focused view of tax history, it contains much detail about taxation – though relatively little about tax havens. For example:Four Things You Should Know About the Boston Tea Party.

January 1981 – The Gordon Report. Entitled Tax havens and their use by United States taxpayers: an overview, this was the first ever in-depth report on tax havens, by the U.S. Treasury. Highly critical of tax havens, it was published just as Ronald Reagan came to power, and was immediately forgotten about. Available in pdftext and other versions.

September 1980 – An article looking at transfer pricing and unitary taxation, in the context of U.S. railroads.


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