14 February 2016

Britain’s Tax Haven Structure

Treasure Islands by Nicholas Shaxson, 2011, Excerpts
Accounting for about half the world’s secrecy jurisdictions, the biggest, is a layered hub-and-spoke array of tax havens, centered in the City of London, the center of the most important part of the global offshore system. The City’s offshore network has three main rings. Its inner ring consists of Britain’s three Crown Dependencies: the nearby islands of Jersey, Guernsey, and the Isle of Man.

The next intermediate ring involves Britain’s 14 overseas territories, the last surviving outposts of Britain’s formal empire; include some of the world’s top secrecy jurisdictions: the Cayman Islands, Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, Turks and Caicos, and Gibraltar. The Cayman Islands is the world’s fifth largest financial center, hosting eighty thousand registered companies, over three quarters of the world’s hedge funds, and $1.9 trillion on deposit – four times as much as all the banks in New York City. And it has, at the time of this writing, one cinema. A lot of U.S. business is attracted to the Cayman Islands. A large amount of foreign investment into China goes via the British Virgin Islands.

The third, outer ring is havens which are outside Britain’s direct control but nevertheless have strong historical links to the empire and deep links to the City of London. The biggest are Hong Kong, Singapore, the Bahamas, Dubai, and Ireland.

Channel Islands credit ratings downgraded to AA
12 Feb 2016
The Jersey and Guernsey credit ratings have been downgraded for the first time from AA+ to AA by the US financial services authority Standard and Poor's. The agency blamed rising regulatory complexity and greater focus on low tax regimes by the G10 on the drop. In November Standard and Poor's reversed a decision to downgrade Guernsey's rating after an appeal. The appeal had been made then by Guernsey Treasury and Resources.

'Tax havens' hit back at G8 pressure
13 Jun 2013
The Isle of Man and Jersey have hit back at accusations that they facilitate tax evasion and avoidance ahead of next week's G8 summit. G8 leaders will hold their latest summit in Northern Ireland on Monday. Ways of combating aggressive tax avoidance and mass tax evasion are expected to be high on the agenda of leaders including UK Prime Minister David Cameron, US President Barack Obama and Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel. Most companies pay no corporation tax in the Isle of Man. The channel island of Jersey also charges zero corporation tax for foreign-owned companies.

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