The Tax Justice Network’s biennial ranking of the world’s friendliest tax havens for super-rich individuals and businesses looking to hide their assets is out. Folks, this one is a banger, with the United States leapfrogging Singapore, Luxembourg, and the Cayman Islands to take 3rd.
10. Dubai / UAE
2. Hong Kong
The scale of hidden offshore wealth around the world is difficult to assess. The economist Gabriel Zucman has put it at $7.6tn (£4.9tn), while the TJN’s James Henry, a former chief economist at consultancy McKinsey, estimated three years ago it could be more than $21tn.
Anyway, you may have noticed—possibly with some surprise?—that the United Kingdom didn’t crack the top ten. Well! TJN explains: “Though the United Kingdom isn’t in our top ten, it supports a network of secrecy jurisdictions around the world, from Cayman to Bermuda to Jersey to the British Virgin Islands, whose trusts and shell companies hold many trillions of dollars’ worth of assets.”
“Had we treated the UK and its dependent territories as a single unit it would easily top the 2015 index, above Switzerland.”
“Though the US has been a pioneer in defending itself from foreign secrecy jurisdictions it provides little information in return to other countries, making it a formidable, harmful and irresponsible secrecy jurisdiction,” TJN reports.
Delaware, Wyoming, and Nevada are particularly egregious offenders. “The US has not seriously addressed its own role in attracting illicit financial flows and supporting tax evasion.”
A 2013 New York Times story examined how Delaware came to be the new Cayman Islands. “Two million corporations are formed each year in the United States, more than anywhere else in the world,” Richard Murphy, a senior adviser at the TJN, said at the time. “Delaware, in turn, is the biggest single source of anonymous corporations in the world.”
“Why go to the Caymans when you can just go down the street?”