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Tax warning for offshore centres

The BBC has reported that the UK's Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies have been told to improve standards of regulation, and find new methods of raising tax.

A government-commissioned report suggests changes offshore centres need make to meet international standards.

Michael Foot, the report's author, said that several jurisdictions had "a good story to tell, but others had more to do on regulation and tackling financial crime".

As TJN observes, one useful thing the report does is to recognise that the OECD's standards on information exchange are inadequate. It states: "In the longer term, the trend for greater transparency is likely to result in pressure to move to a system of automatic exchange of information with the aim of combating tax evasion by individuals on a cross-border basis. . . . The jurisdictions within the scope of this Review must keep pace with international developments and move towards full automatic information exchange wherever possible. . . . The Review encourages (Guernsey and the Isle of Man) to announce a firm date for a move to automatic exchange. . . The UK should call on all EU Member States and third party countries which currently apply the withholding tax option to also make a similarly firm commitment."



Swiss Banks Lose European Clients

The Wall Street Journal has reported that while the spotlight has been on the aggressive drive by the U.S. government to flush tax dodgers out of Switzerland, bankers here are instead grappling with the loss of a much richer clientele: Europeans

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16:33 Posted in Switzerland | Permalink | Comments (0)

Leading economies blamed for fiscal secrecy

The Financial Times has reported that the Financial Secrecy Index will be published soon. This Sunday according to Richard Murphy.

The league table to be published by the Tax Justice Network, a respected campaign group, is led by the US state of Delaware and includes Luxembourg, Switzerland and Hong Kong in its top.

The index complies with Prime Minister Juncker's concern: it includes Delaware.

As TJN explains, the FSI (Financial Secrecy Index) is designed to identify the key contributors to global financial secrecy on a jurisdiction-by-jurisdiction basis. However, in some important cases, different level of secrecy prevail in different sub-jurisdictional entities. Since financial flow data are only systematically and comparably available at a jurisdictional level, this creates a potential problem. To deal with this, and recognising the impact that even marginal secrecy differences can have on the volume of illicit flows, we treat the most secretive sub-jurisdictional entity as representative of the potential for opacity of the whole jurisdiction, and therefore base its Opacity Score on this. The most obvious case where we have applied this technique is with the US state of Delaware, which is taken as representative of the maximum secrecy available within the whole jurisdiction (the USA).

This is exactly the point I raised a couple of months ago:

For Unions, Confederations and other multi jurisdictional states, the weakest link in the chain would give the country's final grade. For Switzerland it may be Zug, Delaware for the US, Andorra for France, Hong Kong for China...

The result would be surprising.

09:03 Posted in General | Permalink | Comments (0)

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