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.

EU report on financial crimes, tax evasion and tax avoidance

In March 2018 a special EU committee on financial crimes, tax evasion and tax avoidance (TAX3) was established. Now, one year later, The EU Parliament has approved a controversial report from the committee. According to the report close to 40 % of MNEs’ profits are shifted to tax havens globally each year with some European Union countries appearing to be the prime losers of profit shifting, as 35 % of shifted profits come from EU countries. About 80 % of the profits shifted from EU Member States are channelled to or through a few other EU Member States. The latest estimates of tax evasion within the EU point to a figure of approximately EUR 825 billion per year. Tax avoidance via six EU Member States results in a loss of EUR 42,8 billion in tax revenue in the other 22 Member States, which means that ... Continue to full case
EU list of Non-Cooperative Tax Jurisdictions - Tax Havens

EU list of Non-Cooperative Tax Jurisdictions – Tax Havens

12 March 2019 the EU Council added ten jurisdictions to the list of Non-Cooperative Tax Jurisdictions – Tax Havens. Non-Cooperative Tax Jurisdictions are those that refused to engage with the EU or to address tax good governance shortcomings. See the full 2019 document with the Council’s conclusions on the revised EU list of noncooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes here. As of March 2019 the EU list of Non-Cooperative Tax Jurisdictions includes 15 countries: American Samoa Barbados Guam Samoa Trinidad and Tobago US Virgin Islands Aruba Belize Bermuda Dominica Fiji Marshall Islands Oman United Arab Emirates Vanuatu Share: ... Continue to full case
Preferential Tax Regimes - Harmful Tax Practices

Preferential Tax Regimes – Harmful Tax Practices

On 13 November 2018, the Inclusive Framework on BEPS approved updates to the results of reviews of preferential tax regimes conducted in connection with BEPS Action 5. The data below presents the conclusions of the work on regime reviews. The results are a consolidated update of the regimes reported in Harmful Tax Practices – 2017 Progress Report on Preferential Regimes. Countries with harmfull tax practices – preferential tax regimes – are defined based on the following factors: Where no or low effective tax rates (or negotiable tax rates or bases) are imposed on income from highly mobile assets and activities Where the low tax regime is ring-fenced (separated) from the domestic economy Where there is no transparancy and no exchange of information with other jurisdictions, eg. secrecy provisions Where there is no requirement of substantial economic activities/substance The Inclusive Framework on BEPS has decided to ... Continue to full case
Microsoft - Taxes and Transfer Pricing

Microsoft – Taxes and Transfer Pricing

For many years Microsoft’s tax affairs have been in the spotlight of tax authorities. Why? The setup used by Microsoft involves shifting profits from sales in the US, Europe and Asia to regional operating centers placed in low tax jurisdictions. The following text has been provided by Microsoft in a US filing concerning effective tax and global allocation of income: “Our effective tax rate for the three months ended September 30, 2017 and 2016 was 18% and 17%, respectively. Our effective tax rate was lower than the U.S. federal statutory rate primarily due to earnings taxed at lower rates in foreign jurisdictions resulting from producing and distributing our products and services through our foreign regional operations centers in Ireland, Singapore, and Puerto Rico.“ “In fiscal year 2017, our U.S. income before income taxes was $6.8 billion and our foreign income before income taxes was $23.1 ... Continue to full case
Marketing and Procurement Hubs - Tax Avoidance

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 of recent Australian investigations and hearings into tax avoidance schemes used by Multinational Groups. Tax avoidance in Australia Australian Senate Hearings into Tax Avoidance The overall framework for Australian risk assessment for tax purposes of MNE’s offshore marketing- and procurement hubs is shown below: Share: ... Continue to full case
Pharma and Tax Avoidance, Report from Oxfam

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 to avoid taxes. cr-prescription-for-poverty-pharma-180918-en Share: ... Continue to full case
Major US MNE's in Ireland

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 as Cyprus and Bermuda. Especially MNEs within the IT sector have been known to use a combination of subsidiaries in Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Bermuda to reduce their taxes (“Double Duch Irish sandwich”). Ireland has been involved in investigations concerning corporate taxes in both the EU and US. An investigation of Apple discovered that two of the company’s Irish subsidiaries were not classified as tax residents in the U.S ... Continue to full case
EU Transparency on Income Allocation and Tax Arrangements - DAC 1 to 6

EU Transparency on Income Allocation and Tax Arrangements – DAC 1 to 6

Tax authorities in the EU have agreed to cooperate more closely and exchange information so as to be able to apply their taxes correctly and combat tax fraud and tax evasion. Exchange of Information within the EU is based on Council Directive 2011/16/EU. The Directive and the later amendments in DAC 2 – 6 provides for exchange of information in three forms: spontaneous, automatic and on request. Spontaneous exchange of information takes place if a country discovers information on possible tax evasion relevant to another country, which is either the country of the income source or the country of residence. Exchange of information on request is used when additional information for tax purposes is needed from another country. Automatic exchange of information (AEOI) is activated in a cross-border situation, where a taxpayer is active in another country than the country of residence. In such cases tax administrations provide automatically tax ... Continue to full case

OECD’s interactive map of tax jurisdictions

Try OECD’s interactive map of tax jurisdictions here: Share: ... Continue to full case
EU blacklist of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions

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 not cover all EU Member States for the purpose of automatic exchange of information, has not signed and ratified the OECD Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance as amended, facilitates offshore structures and arrangements aimed at attracting profits without real economic substance, does not apply the BEPS minimum standards and did not commit to addressing these issues by 31 December 2018. 3. Barbados Barbados has a harmful preferential tax regime ... Continue to full case
OECD: Report on harmful tax practices, 16 October 2017

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 themselves undertake the core business activity, ensuring the alignment of taxation with genuine business substance. Of the 164 regimes reviewed in the last twelve months: * 99 require action. * For 93 of these 99 regimes, the required changes have already been completed or initiated by Inclusive Framework members, * 56 regimes do not pose a BEPS risk, * 9 regimes are still under review, due to extenuating circumstances such ... Continue to full case
German royalty barrier to counter IP box-regimes

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 value is/was created. Deduction of expenses for the assignment of rights is restricted, where the following two cumulative requirements are met: 1) Royalty income for the assignment of rights is subject to low taxation which differs from standard taxation in the recipient’s country (preferential regime) 2) The licensor is a related party to the licensee within the meaning of Section 1 Paragraph 2 German Foreign Tax Act. Under these circumstances, ... Continue to full case
Uncovering Low Tax Jurisdictions and Conduit Jurisdictions

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 on the global corporate ownership network, in which over 98 million firms (nodes) are connected through 71 million ownership relations. This granular firm-level network data uniquely allows identifying both sink-OFCs and conduit-OFCs. Sink-OFCs attract and retain foreign capital while conduit-OFCs are attractive intermediate destinations in the routing of international investments and enable the transfer of capital without taxation. We identify 24 sink-OFCs. In addition, a small set of countries – ... Continue to full case
Signing of the Multilateral Convention to prevent Base Erotion and Profit Shifting "Multilateral Instrument"

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 Share: ... Continue to full case
Oxfam's list of Tax Havens, December 2016

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 damaging tax policies, such as zero corporate tax rates, the provision of unfair and unproductive tax incentives, and a lack of cooperation with international processes against tax avoidance (including measures to increase financial transparency). Many of the countries on the list have been implicated in tax scandals. For example Ireland hit the headlines over a tax deal with Apple that enabled the global tech giant to pay a 0.005 percent ... Continue to full case
TAX BATTLES - The dangerous global Race to the Bottom on Corporate Tax

TAX BATTLES – The dangerous global Race to the Bottom on Corporate Tax

This report from www.oxfam.org examines tax competition, and the resultant race to the bottom in the taxation of global corporations. Using new research, this report exposes the world’s corporate tax havens – the 15 countries which facilitate the most extreme forms of tax dodging. The report looks at the harm caused by falling corporate tax rates and tax giveaways in countries across the world. Finally, the report identifies clear actions governments can take to act in the interest of their citizens and put an end to tax havens and the race to the bottom. bp-race-to-bottom-corporate-tax-121216-en.pdf Share: ... Continue to full case

Belgium,March 2016: New list of “tax havens” published for 2016

According to a royal decrete dividends received deduction is not available in Belgium where the recieving company is resident in a country defined to be a “tax haven” A tax haven is defined as a country where: (1) the nominal rate of the corporate income tax is less than 15%; or (2) the effective corporate tax burden is less than 15%. The Belgien list of “tax haven” jurisdictions for 2016 contains the following countries: Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Dubai, Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey, Kyrgyzstan, Kuwait, Kosovo, Liechtenstein, Macao, Macedonia, Maldives, Isle of Man, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Oman, Uzbekistan, Paraguay, Qatar, Ras al Khaimah, Serbia, Sharjah, East Timor, Turkmenistan, and Umm al Quaiwain. Share: ... Continue to full case
India vs. Li & Fung (Trading) Ltd. March 2016, ITTA

India vs. Li & Fung (Trading) Ltd. March 2016, ITTA

Li & Fung (Trading) Ltd., Hong Kong, entered into contracts with its global third party customers for provision of sourcing services with respect to products to be sourced by such global customers directly from third party vendors in India. For the sourcing services, the Hong Kong company received a 5% commission of the FOB value of goods sourced. The company in India was providing sourcing support services to the Hong Kong group company, and remunerated at cost plus 5 percent mark-up for provision of these services. The tax administration found that the the company in India should get the 5% commission on the free on board (FOB) value of the goods sourced from India as the Hong Kong company contributed no value. The Tribunal held that the compensation received by the company in Hong Kong – 5% of the FOB value – should be distributed between the company in India and the company in Hong Kong in the ... Continue to full case
US Senate Hearings on Offshore Profit Shifting and Abusive Tax Schemes 

US Senate Hearings on Offshore Profit Shifting and Abusive Tax Schemes 

See the documents from the US Senate hearings on offshore profit shifting and abusive tax schemes https://www.hsgac.senate.gov/subcommittees/investigations/issues/tax-havens-and-abusive-tax-schemes Offshore Profit Shifting and the U.S. Tax Code – Part 1 (Microsoft & Hewlett-Packard) and Part 2 (Apple Inc.), Carl Levin’s opening statements. Profit Shifting Part 1, September 2012 OPENING, LEVIN-Carl US Senate hearing on Profit Shifting, May 2013, OPENING LEVIN-Carl Share: ... Continue to full case