Friday, November 27, 2009

The OECD's programme is failing

We have already blogged extensively about the OECD's failures in many areas with respect to secrecy jurisdictions (tax havens.) In fact, we have a super-blog on the OECD which links to most of our other blogs on the subject.

We've relied quite heavily this morning on the Tax Research blog: here's another one, and it's an important post - short, and worth reading in full. It does some data mining on the OECD's Tax Information Exchange Agreements (TIEAs), and highlights things that TJN has been saying for some time, such as the fact that secrecy jurisdictions are signing agreements with each other, so as to vault over the OECD's pitifully low bar on TIEAs:

"66 of the 180 TIEAs are between secrecy jurisdictions . . . these ‘non-compliant’ secrecy jurisdictions listed by the OECD in April 2009 have been seeking to become ‘internationally compliant’ by signing TIEAs with each other."

(The OECD's own list of jurisdictions, including some older ones, is here.) And, crucially:

"The rate of 66 out of 180 may not sound worrying, but it is. 67 of the remaining agreements are with Nordic states. Now I’m not chastising those Nordic states, but when 28 of all agreements are with the Faroe Island, Greenland and Iceland the standard is obviously wrong."

But perhaps most damningly of all, this club of rich countries has created a list that has this kind of problem:

"The absentees from the list (are) very notable: India, China, Japan, Brazil, most of Africa, almost all developing countries. When will they get a deal from states that are willingly, knowingly and very deliberately abusing this new standard to sign deals with each other so that the people who need information to enforce their tax laws will not receive it?"

We have called the OECD white list a whitewash. The numbers tell us that we were right to do so.


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