As governments (slowly) get to grips with the fact that tax havens are inflicting great harm on economies and democracies across the globe, facilitating mega amounts of tax dodging, and vast movements of criminal money by way of the secrecy services some of them offer, the question of our times is how we deal with them. Attempts to create tax haven blacklists (in order to potentially implement sanctions for non-cooperative jurisdictions) have so far been farcical as we’ve noted many times, most recently commenting on the European Union’s current work compiling its own blacklist system, here and here. So far the criteria for inclusion in tax haven blacklists has been weak, such lists have been ineffective and it’s been far too easy for some of the world’s worst offenders to wriggle their way out of them, or simply be big and bad enough not to worry about being included in the first place – for example – Tax Haven USA. If the EU, or anyone else really wanted to do this properly, the work’s already been done for them – with the best objective ranking available – the Tax Justice Network’s Financial Secrecy Index.
It’s not all bad news coming out of the European Union this month. European Union rapporteurs have made some excellent proposals on the implementation of public country-by-country reporting for multinational companies which you can read about here and here. Now we hope the EU Commission will listen and take on board their recommendations.
But, what’s not good news is that EU Finance Ministers have come up with their criteria for the identification of tax havens for their planned tax haven blacklist, which is supposed to be finalised by September 2017. Tax haven blacklists have always been farcical and politicised. If they really wanted to do this properly, the work’s already been done for them – with the best objective ranking available – the Tax Justice Network’s Financial Secrecy Index.
In the October 2016 Tax Justice Network podcast: we look at the offshorisation of Iceland’s economy, its collapse and recovery. What are the lessons? Also, Brazil adds Ireland to its tax haven black list and Panama threatens anyone who dares call it a tax haven with a new law…plus more scandal and unique analysis you won’t find anywhere else. Produced by Naomi Fowler for the Tax Justice Network and featuring Sigrun Davidsdottir, journalist, blogger and podcaster, journalist Ingólfur Sigfússon and John Christensen of the Tax Justice Network.