IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/diw/diwwpp/dp1711.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Tax Evasion in New Disguise? Examining Tax Havens’ International Bank Deposits

Author

Listed:
  • Lukas Menkhoff
  • Jakob Miethe

Abstract

Recent efforts to reduce international tax evasion focus on information exchange with tax havens. Using bilateral bank data for 1,397 country pairs in a balanced quarterly panel from 2003:I – 2017:IV, we first show that information-on-request treaties with tax havens reduce bank deposits in tax havens by 27.5%. Second, also deposits from tax havens in high tax countries decline after such treaties are signed, giving authorities a second angle to detect tax evasion. Both reactions dissipate overt time and treaties signed after 2010 trigger no further reactions. These results cannot be explained by deposit shifting alone and we find no evidence of transitioning into legality. Third, recent policy initiatives based on the automatic exchange of bank information lead to very similar initial reactions as earlier treaties, consistent with adjustments on the part of tax evaders. This suggests that tax evaders adapt to established information exchange treaties by using new disguises to hide their true income, and react again to new measures. These results cast doubt on the effectiveness of current forms of information exchange to tackle international tax evasion.

Suggested Citation

  • Lukas Menkhoff & Jakob Miethe, 2017. "Tax Evasion in New Disguise? Examining Tax Havens’ International Bank Deposits," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1711, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diwwpp:dp1711
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.diw.de/documents/publikationen/73/diw_01.c.574066.de/dp1711.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. James R. Hines, 2010. "Treasure Islands," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 24(4), pages 103-126, Fall.
    2. Huizinga, Harry & Nicodeme, Gaetan, 2004. "Are international deposits tax-driven," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(6), pages 1093-1118, June.
    3. Nicolas Coeurdacier & Hélène Rey, 2013. "Home Bias in Open Economy Financial Macroeconomics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 51(1), pages 63-115, March.
    4. Alstadsæter, Annette & Johannesen, Niels & Zucman, Gabriel, 2018. "Who owns the wealth in tax havens? Macro evidence and implications for global inequality," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 162(C), pages 89-100.
    5. Dyreng, Scott D. & Lindsey, Bradley P. & Thornock, Jacob R., 2013. "Exploring the role Delaware plays as a domestic tax haven," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(3), pages 751-772.
    6. Philip R. Lane & Gian Maria Milesi-Ferretti, 2008. "The Drivers of Financial Globalization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 327-332, May.
    7. Katarzyna Bilicka & Clemens Fuest, 2014. "With which countries do tax havens share information?," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 21(2), pages 175-197, April.
    8. Bayer, Ralph-C. & Oberhofer, Harald & Winner, Hannes, 2015. "The occurrence of tax amnesties: Theory and evidence," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 125(C), pages 70-82.
    9. Bruce A. Blonigen & Lindsay Oldenski & Nicholas Sly, 2019. "The Differential Effects of Bilateral Tax Treaties," World Scientific Book Chapters, in: Foreign Direct Investment, chapter 7, pages 235-263, World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    10. Michelle Hanlon & Edward L. Maydew & Jacob R. Thornock, 2015. "Taking the Long Way Home: U.S. Tax Evasion and Offshore Investments in U.S. Equity and Debt Markets," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 70(1), pages 257-287, February.
    11. Annette Alstadsæter & Niels Johannesen & Gabriel Zucman, 2019. "Tax Evasion and Inequality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 109(6), pages 2073-2103, June.
    12. Hebous, Shafik & Johannesen, Niels, 2021. "At your service! The role of tax havens in international trade with services," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 135(C).
    13. Johannesen, Niels, 2014. "Tax evasion and Swiss bank deposits," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 111(C), pages 46-62.
    14. Nadja Dwenger & Henrik Kleven & Imran Rasul & Johannes Rincke, 2016. "Extrinsic and Intrinsic Motivations for Tax Compliance: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Germany," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 8(3), pages 203-232, August.
    15. Konrad, Kai A. & Stolper, Tim B.M., 2016. "Coordination and the fight against tax havens," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 96-107.
    16. Casi, Elisa & Spengel, Christoph & Stage, Barbara M.B., 2020. "Cross-border tax evasion after the common reporting standard: Game over?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 190(C).
    17. Langenmayr, Dominika, 2017. "Voluntary disclosure of evaded taxes — Increasing revenue, or increasing incentives to evade?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 151(C), pages 110-125.
    18. Niels Johannesen & Gabriel Zucman, 2014. "The End of Bank Secrecy? An Evaluation of the G20 Tax Haven Crackdown," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 6(1), pages 65-91, February.
    19. Niels Johannesen & Patrick Langetieg & Daniel Reck & Max Risch & Joel Slemrod, 2020. "Taxing Hidden Wealth: The Consequences of US Enforcement Initiatives on Evasive Foreign Accounts," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 12(3), pages 312-346, August.
    20. Broner, Fernando & Didier, Tatiana & Erce, Aitor & Schmukler, Sergio L., 2013. "Gross capital flows: Dynamics and crises," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 113-133.
    21. Gabriel Zucman, 2014. "Taxing across Borders: Tracking Personal Wealth and Corporate Profits," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 28(4), pages 121-148, Fall.
    22. Anca D. Cristea & Daniel X. Nguyen, 2016. "Transfer Pricing by Multinational Firms: New Evidence from Foreign Firm Ownerships," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 8(3), pages 170-202, August.
    23. Gabriel Zucman, 2013. "The Missing Wealth of Nations: Are Europe and the U.S. net Debtors or net Creditors?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 128(3), pages 1321-1364.
    24. James R. Hines & Eric M. Rice, 1994. "Fiscal Paradise: Foreign Tax Havens and American Business," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(1), pages 149-182.
    25. Hebous, Shafik & Lipatov, Vilen, 2014. "A journey from a corruption port to a tax haven," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 739-754.
    26. Dharmapala, Dhammika & Hines Jr., James R., 2009. "Which countries become tax havens?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(9-10), pages 1058-1068, October.
    27. Emile van der Does de Willebois & Emily M. Halter & Robert A. Harrison & Ji Won Park & J. C. Sharman, 2011. "The Puppet Masters : How the Corrupt Use Legal Structures to Hide Stolen Assets and What to Do About It [Les Marionnettistes : Comment dissimuler les bien mal acquis derrière des structures juridiq," World Bank Publications - Books, The World Bank Group, number 2363.
    28. J. C. Sharman, 2010. "Shopping for Anonymous Shell Companies: An Audit Study of Anonymity and Crime in the International Financial System," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 24(4), pages 127-140, Fall.
    29. Daniel Haberly & Dariusz Wójcik, 2015. "Tax havens and the production of offshore FDI: an empirical analysis," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(1), pages 75-101.
    30. Kudrle Robert T, 2008. "The OECD's Harmful Tax Competition Initiative and the Tax Havens: From Bombshell to Damp Squib," Global Economy Journal, De Gruyter, vol. 8(1), pages 1-26, February.
    31. Anna Gumpert & James R. Hines Jr. & Monika Schnitzer, 2016. "Multinational Firms and Tax Havens," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 98(4), pages 713-727, October.
    32. 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.
    33. Caruana-Galizia, Paul & Caruana-Galizia, Matthew, 2016. "Offshore financial activity and tax policy: evidence from a leaked data set," Journal of Public Policy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 36(3), pages 457-488, September.
    34. Javier Garcia-Bernardo & Jan Fichtner & Eelke M. Heemskerk & Frank W. Takes, 2017. "Uncovering Offshore Financial Centers: Conduits and Sinks in the Global Corporate Ownership Network," Papers 1703.03016, arXiv.org, revised May 2017.
    35. Valeria Pellegrini & Alessandra Sanelli & Enrico Tosti, 2016. "What do external statistics tell us about undeclared assets held abroad and tax evasion?," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 367, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    36. Johannesen, Niels, 2014. "Tax avoidance with cross-border hybrid instruments," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 40-52.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Andersen,Jorgen Juel & Johannesen,Niels & Rijkers,Bob, 2020. "Elite Capture of Foreign Aid : Evidence from Offshore Bank Accounts," Policy Research Working Paper Series 9150, The World Bank.
    2. Ramzi Benkraiem & Safa Gaaya & Faten Lakhal, 2020. "Cross-Country Evidence on Earnings Quality and Corporate Tax Avoidance: The Moderating Role of Legal Institutions," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 40(2), pages 1714-1726:.
    3. Niels Johannesen & Patrick Langetieg & Daniel Reck & Max Risch & Joel Slemrod, 2020. "Taxing Hidden Wealth: The Consequences of US Enforcement Initiatives on Evasive Foreign Accounts," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 12(3), pages 312-346, August.
    4. Dominika Langenmayr & Lennard Zyska, 2021. "Avoiding Taxes: Escaping the Exchange of Information: Tax Evasion via Citizenship-by-Investment," Working Papers 204, Bavarian Graduate Program in Economics (BGPE).
    5. Clemens Fuest & Felix Hugger & Florian Neumeier, 2021. "Corporate Profit Shifting and the Role of Tax Havens: Evidence from German Country-By-Country Reporting Data," CESifo Working Paper Series 8838, CESifo.
    6. Arun Advani & Hannah Tarrant, 2021. "Behavioural responses to a wealth tax," Fiscal Studies, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 42(3-4), pages 509-537, September.
    7. Casi, Elisa & Nenadic, Sara & Orlic, Mark Dinko & Spengel, Christoph, 2019. "A call to action: From evolution to revolution on the Common Reporting Standard," ZEW Discussion Papers 18-035, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    8. Dominika Langenmayr & Lennard Zyska, 2021. "Escaping the Exchange of Information: Tax Evasion via Citizenship-by-Investment," CESifo Working Paper Series 8956, CESifo.
    9. Ilona Reindl & Jean-Robert Tyran, 2020. "Equal Opportunities for All? How Income Redistribution Promotes Support for Economic Inclusion," Discussion Papers 20-07, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
    10. Maria Delgado Coelho & Sebastian Beer & Sebastien Leduc, 2019. "Hidden Treasure: The Impact of Automatic Exchange of Information on Cross-Border Tax Evasion," IMF Working Papers 2019/286, International Monetary Fund.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Casi, Elisa & Spengel, Christoph & Stage, Barbara M.B., 2020. "Cross-border tax evasion after the common reporting standard: Game over?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 190(C).
    2. Vincent Bouvatier & Gunther Capelle-Blancard & Anne-Laure Delatte, 2017. "Banks Defy Gravity in Tax Havens," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) hal-03101505, HAL.
    3. Hebous, Shafik & Johannesen, Niels, 2021. "At your service! The role of tax havens in international trade with services," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 135(C).
    4. Alfons J. Weichenrieder & Fangying Xu, 2019. "Are tax havens good? Implications of the crackdown on secrecy," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 127(2), pages 147-160, July.
    5. Bayer, Ralph-C. & Hodler, Roland & Raschky, Paul A. & Strittmatter, Anthony, 2020. "Expropriations, property confiscations and new offshore entities: Evidence from the Panama Papers," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 171(C), pages 132-152.
    6. Vincent Bouvatier & Gunther Capelle & Anne-Laure Delatte, 2017. "Banks in Tax Havens: First Evidence based on Country-by-Country Reporting," European Economy - Discussion Papers 2015 - 055, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
    7. Ludger Schuknecht & Vincent Siegerink, 2021. "The Political Economy of the International Tax Transparency Agenda in the G20/OECD Context," CESifo Working Paper Series 8813, CESifo.
    8. Casi, Elisa & Nenadic, Sara & Orlic, Mark Dinko & Spengel, Christoph, 2019. "A call to action: From evolution to revolution on the Common Reporting Standard," ZEW Discussion Papers 18-035, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    9. Konrad, Kai A. & Stolper, Tim B.M., 2016. "Coordination and the fight against tax havens," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 96-107.
    10. Jakob Miethe, 2020. "The Elusive Banker: Using Hurricanes to Uncover (Non-)Activity in Offshore Financial Centers," CESifo Working Paper Series 8625, CESifo.
    11. Alejandro Esteller-Moré & Shafik Hebous & Niels Johannesen & Katarzyna Anna Bilicka, 2018. "The Present and Future of Tax Havens / El presente y futuro de los paraísos fiscales / El present i futur dels paradisos fiscals," IEB Reports ieb_report_4_2018, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    12. Johannes Becker & John D. Wilson, 2021. "Tax Competition with Two Tax Instruments - and Tax Evasion," CESifo Working Paper Series 9318, CESifo.
    13. Niels Johannesen & Gabriel Zucman, 2014. "The End of Bank Secrecy? An Evaluation of the G20 Tax Haven Crackdown," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 6(1), pages 65-91, February.
    14. Braun, Julia & Weichenrieder, Alfons, 2015. "Does Exchange of Information Between Tax Authorities Influence Multinationals' Use of Tax Havens?," VfS Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 113121, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    15. Matthew Gould & Matthew D. Rablen, 2020. "Voluntary disclosure schemes for offshore tax evasion," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 27(4), pages 805-831, August.
    16. Niels Johannesen & Patrick Langetieg & Daniel Reck & Max Risch & Joel Slemrod, 2020. "Taxing Hidden Wealth: The Consequences of US Enforcement Initiatives on Evasive Foreign Accounts," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 12(3), pages 312-346, August.
    17. Shafik Hebous, 2014. "Money at the Docks of Tax Havens: A Guide," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 70(3), pages 458-485, September.
    18. Jakob Miethe & Helge Niesytka, 2016. "Tax Evasion and the Impact of International Regulation: A Summary of Empirical Results," DIW Roundup: Politik im Fokus 104, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    19. Alstadsæter, Annette & Johannesen, Niels & Zucman, Gabriel, 2018. "Who owns the wealth in tax havens? Macro evidence and implications for global inequality," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 162(C), pages 89-100.
    20. James Alm, 2021. "Tax evasion, technology, and inequality," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 22(4), pages 321-343, December.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Tax evasion; international information exchange treaties; international bank deposits; tax havens;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance
    • F38 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Financial Policy: Financial Transactions Tax; Capital Controls

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:diw:diwwpp:dp1711. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/diwbede.html .

    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 CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Bibliothek (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/diwbede.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.