Tax Analysts provides news, analysis, and commentary on tax-related topics, including tax havens and tax legislation and regulations affecting taxpayers invested in, transacting with, or headquartered in tax havens which have low or zero rates of tax.
The use of tax havens by multinationals to reduce or avoid taxes, especially through holding companies, has long been targeted by tax authorities worldwide and more recently by the OECD’s base erosion and profit-shifting project (BEPS). Global companies using international tax havens, for example by allocating a return to a subsidiary in a tax haven out of proportion to activities or property in that tax haven, it raises profit-shifting concerns.
Countries commonly referred to as tax havens include the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands, the British Virgin Islands, Bermuda, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Singapore, Switzerland, and the U.K. Caribbean islands.
In an April 2015 report, the Congressional Research Service stated that, according to foreign direct investment (FDI) data, seven tax haven countries accounted for almost half of the worldwide FDI position of the United States.
Tax havens are often blacklisted by jurisdictions looking to incentivize certain taxpayer behavior, for example if tax haven countries decline to participate in international tax initiatives or policies favored by the blacklisting jurisdiction or if they encourage disfavored activity. Italy recently removed the Isle of Man and Mauritius from its tax blacklist for improved transparency measures. The U.S. fiscal 2015 omnibus appropriations bill (P.L. 113-235) signed into law December 16 precludes some government funds from being used in contracts with former U.S. companies that have reincorporated in Bermuda or the Cayman islands.