Bermuda is the world's most notorious tax haven. That's the finding of a new report by Oxfam which made the rating based on: low or non-existent tax rates, unfair or unproductive tax incentives, and lack of co-operation with international anti-tax avoidance measures. Others on the list include the Cayman Islands, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Singapore, Ireland, Luxembourg, Curaçao, Hong Kong, Cyprus, Bahamas, Jersey, Barbados, Mauritius, and the British Virgin Islands.
The report also shows that over the last few decades tax contributions of large corporations are diminishing as these tax havens compete in a race to the bottom on corporate taxation. Over the last thirty years, net profits posted by the world’s largest companies more than tripled in real terms, from $2 trillion in 1980 to $7.2 trillion by 2013. This increase has not been matched by a rising trend in corporate income tax contributions, partially because of tax havens.
Canadians for Tax Fairness estimates wealthy individuals and corporations have shifted$270 Billion in the world's tax havens resulting in an annual revenue loss to government about $8 Billion. At least $22.4 Billion has been funnelled to Bermuda by Canadians and their tax advisors. However the top Canadian havens of choice remains Barbados where Canadians have parked nearly $80Billion out of the reach of the CRA.
"Instead of paying for services like pharmacare, child care and free university education, the current tax system siphons billions into the pockets are the super-wealthy," says Dennis Howlett, executive director of Canadians for Tax Fairness. Howlett, who also serves with the Global Alliance for Tax Justice points out that developing countries lose around $100bn annually as a result of corporate tax avoidance schemes. That's enough to provide an education for all of the 124 million children currently out of school, and to pay for health interventions that could save the lives of six million children.
Canadians for Tax Fairness invites you to help us work for a tax system that does what it supposed to do - make our country and our world, a fair and healthy place. We've made some progress and we've got people talking about the travesty that is the tax haven system. But there's so much more to do. Here's how you can donate.