The world’s tax havens are just laughing at regulation meant to control them

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In 2009 the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development said it was going to crack down on tax havens by demanding that they open themselves to all comers who wanted information they held on tax abusers.

Then we learned that actually this meant that tax havens / secrecy jurisdictions must sign at least twelve (yes, I mean 12) of the absolutely useless tax information exchange agreements. There are, of course, about 200 tax adminsitrations in the world but 12 treaties were enough for the OECD apparently. Reconcile that if you can.

And what did the tax havens do? They promptly signed enough agreements with the most useless places they could find, or with each other. At the last count I reckoned there were 518 of these agreements. But just look at the following list of absolutely useless ones that we can be quite sure will never be used and it’s easy to see why there has been no real change in the tax haven world as a result of the OECD’s action. This list is almost 20% of the total such agreements: