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Banks in Tax Havens: First Evidence based on Country-by-Country Reporting

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  • Vincent Bouvatier
  • Gunther Capelle
  • Anne-Laure Delatte

Abstract

Since the Great Financial Crisis, several scandals have exposed a pervasive light on banks' presence in tax havens. Taking advantage of a new database, this paper provides a quantitative assessment of the importance of tax havens in international banking activity. Using comprehensive individual country-by-country reporting from the largest banks in the European Union, we provide several new insights: 1) Tax havens attract large extra banking activity beyond the standard factors based on gravity equations; 2) For EU banks, the main tax havens are located within Europe: Luxembourg, Isle of Man and Guernsey rank at the top of the foreign affiliates; 3) Attractive low tax rates are not sufficient to drive extra activity; 4) High quality of governance is not a driver, but banks avoid countries with weakest governance; 5) Banks also avoid the most opaque countries; 6) The tax savings for EU banks is estimated between EUR 1 billion and EUR 3.6 billion.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:euf:dispap:055
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    JEL classification:

    • F3 - International Economics - - International Finance
    • G3 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • H22 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Incidence
    • H3 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents
    • L8 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services

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