I was amused to note that tax haven lobby group The Sovereign Society had a feature on whether Jamaica might be the next tax haven on its site this week. It said:
Whenever we at The Sovereign Society look at possible offshore venues for investment, tax savings, asset protection and maximum financial privacy we ask these questions:
1. How long has the current system of government been in place? Is the jurisdiction politically stable?
2. How long a legal tradition has the haven had? Does its legal and judicial system have reputation for "fair play" with regard to foreign investors?
3. Does the jurisdiction have a large enough variety of legal entities to satisfy the average person seeking an estate planning or business solution?
4. Does the jurisdiction have and defend financial secrecy laws? How strictly are they applied? What exceptions to secrecy exist?
5. Taxes: Does the haven impose taxes on foreign investors? How easily can these taxes be avoided legally? Are there tax treaties or tax information exchange agreements in effect?
With a high national debt, unemployment, difficulty with criminal gangs, and no special laws in place to attract offshore financial interests, Jamaica would seem to have a long way to go to achieve status comparable to the Caymans, Panama or even Belize or Nevis.
I thought this useful as an indication of the tax avoiders mind set. I also was interested in the conclusion.
The tax haven market is now pretty much a closed shop for those already in the game. So much for free and fair competition!