The OECD's Harmful Tax Competition Initiative and the Tax Havens: From Bombshell to Damp Squib
AbstractThe OECD's Harmful Tax Competition of 1998 departed in both tone and substance from almost anything the organization had published before. The roots of the associated project lie mainly in EU concerns that certain forms of intra-union competition were eroding both the corporate and personal income tax bases of member states. But it appeared impossible to deal with those problems unless policies were also changed in the 40 or so jurisdictions know as tax havens. HTC threatened sanctions against the tax havens if they failed to collect and share information upon request about individuals and corporations attempting to evade or avoid income taxes. HTC also set criteria for the legitimacy of claims about corporate location. A firm could claim location in a tax haven only if it had substantial activity there. The report created a furor among the tax havens, which complained loudly that they were facing a new form of colonial control by being held accountable for standards they had no role in setting. Over the next several years the corporate element of the project disappeared, and the style of the OECD's approach shifted from confrontation to cooperation. HTC was strongly supported by the Clinton Administration, and summaries of the project's development often stress how much change came with the election of George W. Bush. A careful look at OECD reports, however, reveals that much of the shift in direction occurred before the outcome of the U.S. election in 2000 had been determined.The revised focus on bank secrecy did yield results. Virtually all of the tax havens had acceded to the revised OECD demands for transparency and information exchange by 2004. This article looks at the data on tax haven liabilities to gauge the impact of the project on tax evasion. It employs the ARIMA technique to investigate both tax haven activity as a whole and the particularly important case of the Cayman Islands. No significant impact can be found probably because investment in the havens remains very easy to disguise and very difficult to detect. This suggests that an effective attack on personal income evasion will require more than the OECD demanded. Automatic information-sharing on the ownership based on an internationally consistent set of identifying numbers over a range of financial instruments holds greater promise for a significant decline in the use of the havens for tax evasion.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by De Gruyter in its journal Global Economy Journal.
Volume (Year): 8 (2008)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www.degruyter.com
You can help add them by filling out this form.
CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
- Dhammika Dharmapala, 2008.
"What Problems and Opportunities are Created by Tax Havens?,"
0820, Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation.
- Dhammika Dharmapala, 2008. "What problems and opportunities are created by tax havens?," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 24(4), pages 661-679, winter.
- May Elsayyad & Kai A. Konrad, 2010.
"Fighting Multiple Tax Havens,"
CESifo Working Paper Series
3195, CESifo Group Munich.
- May Elsayyad & Kai A. Konrad, 2011. "Fighting Multiple Tax Havens," Working Papers fighting_multiple_tax_hav, Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance.
- Elsayyad, May & Konrad, Kai A., 2012. "Fighting Multiple Tax Havens," Munich Reprints in Economics 13964, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Peter Golla).
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.