Denmark: a tax haven?

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Yes, according to reports in the Copenhagen Post:

The number of people using this country to funnel tax-free earnings to the US from the more obvious tax havens is growing, according to several leading accountants and consultants.

Tax consultant Christen Amby said the swindling had grown exponentially in recent years and was typically done through setting up a ‘shell’ company.

‘It’s my impression that Denmark has become a popular way station for tax evasion — partly because it’s easy to set up a business and also because we don’t have a practice of controlling who the final receiver of funds is,’ Amby told Berlingske Tidende newspaper.

Funds kept in a Caribbean tax haven, for example, were typically transferred to The Netherlands, where earnings from abroad were not taxed. That money could then be moved to Denmark tax-free, where it sat before a final transfer to the US.

Several politicians are pushing the tax minister, Kristian Jensen, to set up an enquiry that would serve as the basis for implementing tighter rules regarding the establishment of businesses and the movement of funds in and out of Denmark.

I’m not surprised. I drew attention to the activities of the Danish Jyske Banks in 2006 saying:

The result is that a major European bank is offering on its web site to use its “Company Manager” to set up an offshore trust and company for people resident in the EU which will enable them to hide behind that structure to avoid their obligations to pay tax. Nowhere does it mention that in some countries, at least, this might be a tax offence constituting evasion. Nor is it made clear that if the trust and its assets remain under the control of the settlor the trust is a bare trust and therefore void for tax planning in most countries. Such doubts are not even hinted at. Such blatant promotion of aggressive tax avoidance brings the entire banking sector into disrepute. I do hope that someone is giving serious attention to this bank’s activities. They deserve it.

The story transferred to Danish national television at the time. If someone is at last doing something about it then that is long overdue, but welcome none the less.