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Category: Tax Havens and Harmful Tax Practices

Tax havens are jurisdictions that offers favorable tax conditions and secrecy to taxpayers as relative to other jurisdictions. There is no generally accepted definition of a tax haven, but commonly associated with such jurisdictions are low or no-taxes, no withholding taxes, and strict laws on secrecy.
Harmful tax practices refers to countries issuing highly favourable tax rulings and implementing preferential tax rules/regimes to attract foreign income, thereby eroding the tax bases of other countries.

Marketing and Procurement Hubs – Tax Avoidance

The Australian Taxation Office has issued new guidance for multinational groups using offshore marketing- and procurment hubs for tax avoidance purposes. The guidance adresses tax schemes where MNEs uses offshore hubs to shift profits and thereby avoid Australian taxes. Offshore hub arrangements are catagorised by the ATO as white, green, blue, yellow, amber, or red – based on the risk assesment for tax purposes of the transfer pricing setup. The new guidance is a result […]

Pharma and Tax Avoidance, Report from Oxfam

New Oxfam research shows that four pharmaceutical corporations — Abbott, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, and Pfizer — systematically allocate super profits in overseas tax havens. In eight advanced economies, pharmaceutical profits averaged 7 percent, while in seven developing countries they averaged 5 percent. In comparison, profits margins averaged 31 percent in countries with low or no corporate tax rates – Belgium, Ireland, Netherlands and Singapore. The report exposes how pharmaceutical corporations uses sophisticated tax planning […]

Major US MNE’s in Ireland

Major US MNE’s with regional Headquarters in Ireland for European business activities. The corporation tax rate in Ireland is only 12.5%. However to further sweeten the deal for MNE’s, Ireland has been known to offer special tax deals to MNE’s resulting in much lower effective tax rates. Ireland provides MNEs with both low tax centers for European activities and conduit holding companies serving as hubs for transferring profits and capital to low tax jurisdictions such […]

EU blacklist of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions

On December 5, 2017, the EU published it’s blacklist of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions (tax havens). 1. American Samoa American Samoa does not apply any automatic exchange of financial information, has not signed and ratified, including through the jurisdiction they are dependent on, the OECD Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance as amended, does not apply the BEPS minimum standards and did not commit to addressing these issues by 31 December 2018. 2. Bahrain Bahrain does […]

OECD: Report on harmful tax practices, 16 October 2017

The OECD report on harmful tax incentives provides details on reviews of 164 preferential tax regimes. Some preferential tax regimes are considered harmful – where these encourage the erosion of other jurisdictions’ tax bases. All 102 members of the BEPS Inclusive Framework have committed to ensuring that any regimes offered meet the criteria that have been agreed as part of BEPS Action 5. Crucially, this includes a requirement that taxpayers benefiting from a regime must […]

German royalty barrier to counter IP box-regimes

Some countries in Europe offer so-called IP or Patent boxes. To counter such tax practices, effective from 31 December 2017, Germany has introduced a new royalty barrier in ‘Law against Harmful Tax Practices in Connection with the Assignment of Rights. The law limits tax deductibility of expenses for the assignment of rights in order to prevent royalty income from not being taxed or taxed at a low rate and taxes income in the country where […]

Uncovering Low Tax Jurisdictions and Conduit Jurisdictions

By Javier Garcia-Bernardo, Jan Fichtner, Frank W. Takes, & Eelke M. Heemskerk Multinational corporations use highly complex structures of parents and subsidiaries to organize their operations and ownership. Offshore Financial Centers (OFCs) facilitate these structures through low taxation and lenient regulation, but are increasingly under scrutiny, for instance for enabling tax avoidance. Therefore, the identifcation of OFC jurisdictions has become a politicized and contested issue. We introduce a novel data-driven approach for identifying OFCs based […]

Signing of the Multilateral Convention to prevent Base Erotion and Profit Shifting “Multilateral Instrument”

On 7 June 2017, over 70 Ministers and other high-level representatives participated in the signing ceremony of the Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty Related Measures to Prevent Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (“Multilateral Instrument” or “MLI”). Signatories include jurisdictions from all continents and all levels of development. A number of jurisdictions have also expressed their intention to sign the MLI as soon as possible and other jurisdictions are also actively working towards signature. multilateral-convention-to-implement-tax-treaty-related-measures-to-prevent-BEPS […]

Oxfam’s list of Tax Havens, December 2016

Oxfam’s list of Tax Havens, in order of significance are: (1) Bermuda (2) the Cayman Islands (3) the Netherlands (4) Switzerland (5) Singapore (6) Ireland (7) Luxembourg (8) Curaçao (9) Hong Kong (10) Cyprus (11) Bahamas (12) Jersey (13) Barbados, (14) Mauritius and (15) the British Virgin Islands. Most notably is The Netherlands placement as no. 3 on the list. Oxfam researchers compiled the list by assessing the extent to which countries employ the most […]

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