Switzerland and USA head the list of tax havens
Concidering all the Crown dependencies, however, it is the United Kingdom that would take the first place.
The US stepped up a line in the ranking of tax havens, moving right next to Switzerland, according to the British NGO Tax Justice Network. The ranking offers country assessment on the amount of hidden capital and on the level of financial opacity. The United States ranked 6th in 2013 and 3d in 2015, when the assessment was last time published. The US share in the export of offshore financial services increased by 14% from 19.6% to 22.3% since 2015, according to the assessment’s authors (against a 4.5% market share for Switzerland).
«The United States remain a secrecy jurisdiction as they refuse to take part in international initiatives to share tax information with other countries. US have failed to end the practice of anonymous companies and trusts, aggressively marketed by some US states,» the authors of the ranking observe.
Without providing information to the tax authorities of other countries, the USA created its own system for collecting data on the assets of American citizens abroad — FATCA.
The third place in the ranking of tax havens, following Switzerland and the USA, is occupied by the Crown dependency, the Cayman Islands, followed by Hong Kong, Singapore, Luxembourg, Germany, Taiwan, the United Arab Emirates and Guernsey.
The UK is listed separately from its dependent territories (Jersey, Guernsey, Maine, BVI, Cayman Islands, Gibraltar, etc). Should all the dependencies be added together, Britain would take the first place.
Russia was ranked 29th, next to China and Turkey. The experts gave Russia the highest marks, in particular, for the transparency of business setup and for the current corporate ID system. At the same time, the level of bank secrecy is estimated as relatively high. Russia received average ranking on the international cooperation in taxation. Meanwhile, Russia’s share of the international offshore services market is insignificant.
The final ranking for the level of opacity, which takes into account a total of 20 parameters, was 64% in Russia against 76.5% in Switzerland and 60% in the United States. Ukraine ranked 69% and Latvia only 57%. As pointed out, Switzerland postponed the introduction of the automatic exchange of information for tax purposes. The most transparent country in the world is Slovenia with 42%.
The veil of secrecy contributes to the illegal fund transfers, money laundering, corruption and tax evasion. The progress made in recent years in the field of combating offshore and tax evasion is considered insufficient by the authors of the report.
The idea of creating a national database of legal entities and their beneficiaries has been discussed in the United States for many years, however, so long as the company registers are maintained at the state level, the registration of companies in the USA is not regulated at the federal level. Limited liability companies may be registered with law firms in Delaware, Wyoming and Nevada without disclosing any information about the owners.
The US tax service database only contains the names and identifiers of the companies that conduct regular business in the country. To corporate identification a DUNS number is assigned in the US by Dun & Bradstreet. The Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF) indicated in a recent US report that one of the weaknesses of the country’s anti-money laundering system is the lack of information on the actual ultimate owners of companies