I was going over an old(ish) copy of the Economist this morning and I came across an article that deserves more coverage.
The central point is easy to state – if you intend to do a spot of money laundering or tax evasion you do not need to go to somewhere sunny or somewhere in a recognised tax haven. It is more than easy enough to do in the US or the UK.
The most egregious examples of banking secrecy, money laundering and tax fraud are found not in remote alpine valleys or on sunny tropical isles but in the backyards of the world’s biggest economies…
Take Nevada, for example. Its official website touts its “limited reporting and disclosure requirements” and a speedy one-hour incorporation service. Nevada does not ask for the names of company shareholders, nor does it routinely share the little information it has with the federal government.
This makes it fairly obvious that much of the finger pointing at the usual tax havens is just to cover up the simple fact that the bigger economies are doing even less.
It is also a good warning to others working with US and UK registered corporations – just because they come from an OECD country it does not remove, or even reduce, your obligations to check that the funds you are receiving or paying are from legitimate sources.