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.

Uber-files - Tax Avoidance promoted by the Netherlands

Uber-files – Tax Avoidance promoted by the Netherlands

Uber files – confidential documents, leaked to The Guardian newspaper shows that Uber in 2015 sought to deflect attention from its Dutch conduits and Caribbean tax shelters by helping tax authorities collect taxes from its drivers. At that time, Uber’s Dutch subsidiary received payments from customers hiring cars in cities around the world (except US and China), and after paying the drivers, profits were routed on as royalty fees to Bermuda, thus avoiding corporate income tax. In 2019, Uber took the first steps to close its Caribbean tax shelters. To that end, a Dutch subsidiary purchased the IP that was previously held by the Bermudan subsidiary, using a $16 billion loan it had received from Uber’s Singapore holding company. The new setup was also tax driven. Tax depreciations on the IP acquired from Bermuda and interest on the loan from Singapore will significantly reduce Uber’s ... Continue to full case
AFIP has published a non exhaustive list of Low and No Tax Jurisdictions (LNTJ)

AFIP has published a non exhaustive list of Low and No Tax Jurisdictions (LNTJ)

The Federal Tax Administration of Argentine (AFIP) has published a non exhaustive list of 41 Low and No Tax Jurisdictions (LNTJ). The list related to Law 27,430 from 29 December 2017 which introduced certain adverse tax implications for transactions with LNTJs. For instance, according to the Law transactions with unrelated parties in LNTJs are not deemed arm’s length for transfer pricing purposes. Furthermore such transactions are required to be reported to the tax authorities. LNTJs refers to jurisdictions where the income tax rate is 60% lower than the minimum 25 % CIT rate applicable in Argentina. Hence, LNTJs are jurisdictions that apply an income tax rate lower than 15%. Click here for English Translation JBNT_list_1_14410 ... Continue to full case
OECD releases Pillar Two model rules - Global Minimum Tax of 15%

OECD releases Pillar Two model rules – Global Minimum Tax of 15%

The OECD has published detailed rules to assist in the implementation of a landmark reform to the international tax system, which will ensure Multinational Enterprises (MNEs) will be subject to a minimum 15% tax rate from 2023. The Pillar Two model rules provide governments a precise template for taking forward the two-pillar solution to address the tax challenges arising from digitalisation and globalisation of the economy agreed in October 2021 by 137 countries and jurisdictions under the OECD/G20 Inclusive Framework on BEPS. The rules define the scope and set out the mechanism for the so-called Global Anti-Base Erosion (GloBE) rules under Pillar Two, which will introduce a global minimum corporate tax rate set at 15%. The minimum tax will apply to MNEs with revenue above EUR 750 million and is estimated to generate around USD 150 billion in additional global tax revenues annually. The GloBE ... Continue to full case
Pandora Papers - a new leak of financial records

Pandora Papers – a new leak of financial records

A new huge leak of financial records revealed by ICIJ, once again shows widespread use of offshore accounts, shell companies and trusts to hide wealth and/or avoid taxes. The new leak is known as the Pandora Papers and follows other recent leaks – lux leak, panama papers, paradise papers. The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists obtained 11.9 million confidential documents from 14 separate legal and financial services firms, which the group said offered “a sweeping look at an industry that helps the world’s ultrawealthy, powerful government officials and other elites conceal trillions of dollars from tax authorities, prosecutors and others.” “The key players in the system include elite institutions – multinational banks, law firms and accounting practices – headquartered in the U.S. and Europe.” The Consortium said the 2.94 terabytes of financial and legal data shows the “offshore money machine operates in every corner of ... Continue to full case
OECD deal on taxation of MNEs - Global Minimum Tax of 15%

OECD deal on taxation of MNEs – Global Minimum Tax of 15%

Major reform of the international tax system finalised today at the OECD will ensure that Multinational Enterprises (MNEs) will be subject to a minimum 15% tax rate from 2023. The landmark deal, agreed by 136 countries and jurisdictions representing more than 90% of global GDP, will also reallocate more than USD 125 billion of profits from around 100 of the world’s largest and most profitable MNEs to countries worldwide, ensuring that these firms pay a fair share of tax wherever they operate and generate profits. Following years of intensive negotiations to bring the international tax system into the 21st century, 136 jurisdictions (out of the 140 members of the OECD/G20 Inclusive Framework on BEPS) joined the Statement on the Two-Pillar Solution to Address the Tax Challenges Arising from the Digitalisation of the Economy. It updates and finalises a July political agreement by members of the Inclusive Framework to ... Continue to full case
Airbnb under examination by the Internal Revenue Service for 2013 and 2016

Airbnb under examination by the Internal Revenue Service for 2013 and 2016

Airbnb is under examination by the Internal Revenue Service for its income taxes in 2013 and 2016, according to the company’s December 2020 SEC filing. According to the filing a draft notice of adjustment from the IRS proposes that the company owes an additional $1.35 billion in taxes plus interest and penalties for the years in question. The assessment is related to valuation of its intellectual property that was transferred to a subsidiary in FY 2013. Airbnb then had had two subsidiaries outside the United States – Airbnb International Holdings Ltd and Airbnb International Unlimited Co – both resident for tax purposes in tax haven Jersey. The company plans to fight a potential adjustment. “We disagree with the proposed adjustment and intend to vigorously contest it,” “If the IRS prevails in the assessment of additional tax due based on its position and such tax and related ... Continue to full case
Allegations of tax avoidance in Dutch Pharma Group Qiagen

Allegations of tax avoidance in Dutch Pharma Group Qiagen

According to investigations by SOMO – an independent center for Research on Multinational Corporations – the annual accounts of Pharma Group Qiagen shows that the group has avoided tax on profits by passing internal loans through an elaborate network of letterbox companies in European tax havens including Ireland, Luxembourg and Malta. It is estimated that, since 2010, the group has avoided at least  €93 million in taxes and has accumulated tax deduction in an amount of €49 million ... Continue to full case
Microsoft - Taxes and Transfer Pricing

Microsoft – Taxes and Transfer Pricing

Microsoft’s tax affairs have been in the spotlight of tax authorities all over the World during the last decade. 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 (Bermuda, Luxembourg, Ireland, Singapore and Puerto Rico). 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 ... 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 ... 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 ... 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 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
Australian Parliament Hearings - Tax Avoidance

Australian Parliament Hearings – Tax Avoidance

In a public hearing held 22 August 2017 in Sydney Australia by the Economics References Committee, tech companies IBM, Microsoft, and Apple were called to the witnesses stand to explain about tax avoidance schemes – use of “regional headquarters” in low tax jurisdictions (Singapore, Ireland and the Netherlands) to avoid or reduce taxes. Follow the ongoing Australian hearings into corporate tax avoidance on this site: http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Economics/Corporatetax45th Transcript from the hearing: Tax Avoidance, Australian Senate Hearing, 22 August 2017 ... 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 ... 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 ... 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 ... Continue to full case