Are tax havens dead?

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Accountancy Age has a story this week with the headline 'Tax Havens Will Cease to Exist'. I wish Nicholas Neveling was right in reporting this, and that the Chief Minister of Gibraltar was telling the truth in the interview he had with Nicholas. But candidly, I do not think that is the case.

The paper I have just given in Oslo says the opposite. I agree that as the Chief Minister says, tax havens are

'not sustainable' if they d[o] not reform and become more transparent.

And the message that I heard in Oslo from those prosecuting serious fraud is that they are becoming more open right now. There's good reason though. They have been caught off guard. They didn't expect the current pressure on them for information exchange and mutual legal assistance.

I am convinced they are not going to put up with this though. Protected cell companies, corporate redomiciliation and sham trusts plus more relaxed client identification rules will help them beat information exchange. That's their objective. It's not that they won't cooperate in future: they will. They're just going to make sure they don't have the information to exchange. Which will nullify the benefit.

Can it really be the case that Jersey allowed redomiciliation, created cell companies, revised its trust laws and has reduced standards of client identification in less than two years without good reason? I don't think so. My theory is the only viable explanation right now. They're fiddling the system, as usual.

People from tax havens are disingenuous. My cynicism, reported in the same article in Accountancy Age, is well justified.