As promised by Gordon Brown at the end of the G20 summit today, the OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) has provided a detailed report on progress by financial centres around the world towards implementation of an internationally agreed standard on exchange of information for tax purposes.
The list is split into four sections and at the very top are those countries that are compliant with agreed international standards, including the United Kingdom, Guernsey, Jersey, the Isle of Man, the USA, Germany, France and most of the other major countries.
So, according to the OECD the Isle of Man is in the same category as the UK, the USA, Germany & France – the most vociferous critics of what they call “tax havens”. Well guys, if we are a tax haven – so are you!
The second category contains those countries that the OECD declared were “Tax Havens” back in 1998 but which committed to meet the agreed information exchange standards – but have not yet delivered. This is the biggest category and it includes Panama, the Cayman Islands and all the usual suspects.
However the third category – less compliant than the tax havens above – lists eight countries which were not included in the original list of “Tax Havens” and of these eight 3 are full EU member states – Austria, Belgium & Luxembourg – as well as Switzerland, a member of the EEA. As I have said before – these are the real tax havens, hiding within the EU. But the OECD doesn’t really want to say so. These countries are called “Other Financial Centres” but when you look at the number of tax exchange agreements these countries have (that’s the main criteria) you will see that they are on a par with places like Panama and less compliant than the British Virgin Islands. Politics!
You can view the full report here.
You will note that the OECD quite clearly talk about Tax Evasion rather than Tax Avoidance. This is quite correct. Tax Evasion is illegal – Tax Avoidance is legal. Forget the crap that Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling have been spouting. All they are doing is trying to blame someone else – anyone else - for their own failure.
No doubt there will be more to comment on in the next few days so do please come back regularly.
- Political Double Dealing on Tax Havens
- A Most Unlikely Freedom Haven
- Isle of Man Praised by OECD Despite Attacks from UK Government
- Last Desperate Attempt by a Bankrupt Government
- Ed Miliband Talking Rubbish Again
Category: International Taxation