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Trillions of dollars hidden in these tax havens!

Last updated on: January 21, 2011 16:34 IST

Trillions of dollars hidden in these tax havens!

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The total amount of money stashed away in tax havens has been estimated at a whopping $11.5 trillion by the Tax Justice Network.

The Britain-based Tax Justice Network promotes transparency in international finance and opposes secrecy. Its major area of concern is tax havens.

Politicians, businessmen and non-residents across the world seek refuge in tax havens with their unaccounted income as these havens impose nil or only nominal taxes. These havens typically have laws or administrative practices under which businesses and individuals can protect them from any kind of scrutiny by tax authorities.

In India, the Supreme Court has stated that stashing black money in foreign banks amounts to 'national plunder' and has asked the government to give it all the information it has on Indians who have siphoned-off their illicit money to tax havens.

India is one of the world's largest exporters of illicit capital with an outflow of $104 billion between 2000 and 2008, according to Global Financial Integrity (GFI).

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Luxembourg

A tax haven, Luxembourg has been included in 'grey list' of nations with questionable banking arrangements by the G20.

There is no tax on bank interest, investment dividends, or capital gains for non-residents.

Many people form part of trusts created just to evade taxes.

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Cook Islands

The Cook Islands are in the South Pacific Ocean, north-east of New Zealand, between French Polynesia and American Samoa. There is no capital gains tax or tax on income here.

Aruba

Tourism is the mainstay of Aruba, an island of the Lesser Antilles in the southern Caribbean Sea along with offshore banking and oil refining and storage.

Dominica

It is an island between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, about half way between Puerto Rico and Trinidad and Tobago.

The Dominican economy depends on agriculture, primarily bananas, and remains highly vulnerable to climatic conditions and international economic developments.

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Cayman Islands

The Cayman Islands (Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, Little Cayman) in the Caribbean Sea, 240 km south of Cuba and 268 km northwest of Jamaica, are a thriving offshore financial centre. The island has no direct taxation regulation.

More than 68,000 companies were registered in the Cayman Islands as of 2003, including almost 500 banks, 800 insurers, and 5,000 mutual funds.

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The Bahamas

The Bahamas is one of the wealthiest Caribbean countries with an economy heavily dependent on tourism and offshore banking. There is no personal income tax, capital gains tax, and inheritance tax here.

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Channel Islands

In the Channel Islands, no tax is paid by corporations or individuals on foreign income and gains.

Real estate-based investment trusts are attracted to Channel Island for the low tax rates.

Guernsey-Jersey

Non-residents are not taxed on local income. Local taxation is at a fixed rate of 20 per cent in Jersey, Guernsey, & Alderney and nil in Sark.

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Bermuda

Bermuda does not levy income tax on foreign earnings, and allows foreign companies to incorporate there under an 'exempt' status.

Businesses are allowed a total exemption from income and capital gains taxes.

Anguilla

Anguilla has few natural resources, and the economy depends on luxury tourism, offshore banking, lobster fishing, and remittances from emigrants.

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Dubai

No tax is levied on your income in Dubai. There is no tax on income from a property if you rent it out for profit.

There are no tax audits and no information shared with government agencies. However, it might not be a very safe place for hoarders of illicit wealth to park their funds as Dubai has double taxation avoidance treaties with many nations, including India, making it possible for it to disclose sensitive information.

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Lichtenstein

One of the earliest tax havens, Lichtenstein is known for being easy to set up trusts.

Liberia

A West Africa nation it borders the North Atlantic Ocean, between Cote d'Ivoire and Sierra Leone.

Liberia has been a popular tax haven for registering ships as the country does not tax foreign source shipping income of non-resident Liberian registered corporations.

However, Civil war and government mismanagement has destroyed much of Liberia's economy.

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British Virgin Islands

British Virgin Islands have low incorporation and trust maintenance fees.

Antigua and Barbuda

Investment banking and financial services also make up an important part of twin-island nation lying between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. Banking majors like Bank of America, Barclays, Royal Bank of Canada, and Scotia Bank have subsidiaries in Antogua.

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Andorra

One of the famous tax havens, Andorra in Western Europe does not impose any personal income tax.

Andorra recently added a nominal capital gains tax.

Monaco

Monaco does not levy a personal income tax.

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Switzerland

Switzerland offers a safe haven for those seeking anonymity and protection on bank accounts. The high level confidentiality attracts the richest from all over the world to save huge funds in the country.

Switzerland does not apply capital gains taxes, except for professional equity and real estate traders. Switzerland passed its banking secrecy laws in 1934 during a worldwide depression and under the threat of espionage by France and Nazi Germany.

Swiss cantons levy a small wealth tax of maximum 1 per cent of your net assets. It levies a withholding tax on all interest earned in the personal Swiss accounts of European Union residents.

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Gibraltar

A gambling haven, Gibraltar has a low tax of 1 per cent on the winning amount. It also offers low taxes on offshore corporations.

Isle of Man

The Isle of Man does not charge corporation tax, capital gains tax, inheritance tax or wealth tax.

Personal income tax is levied at 10 18 per cent on the worldwide income of Isle of Man residents, up to a maximum tax liability of 115,000 pounds (as of April 2010).

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Belize

Belize aims to be the most attractive tax haven. The names of directors & shareholders of offshore companies are kept confidential and companies are incorporated within 3 days.

A Central American nation, Belize borders the Caribbean Sea, between Guatemala and Mexico.

Investment banking and financial services comprise an important part of the economy.

It has no capital gains tax. It is an island nation located on the eastern boundary of the Caribbean Sea with the Atlantic Ocean.

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Vanuatu

A tax evader's delight, Vanuatu does not share account information with law enforcement agencies. It does not impose income tax capital gains, or inheritance taxes.

Malta

It has succeeded in attracting foreign investors as a result of its strong infrastructure, labour force and its continuously increasing number of banks.

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Grenada

Strict confidentiality of offshore corporations and accounts, bank trust laws are among the best in the country.

Grenada is also known as the "Island of Spice" as it is one of the largest exporter of nutmeg.

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Cyprus

Known as one of the most attractive tax havens in Europe, Cyprus's taxation practices are widely appreciated across the country. It levies a low corporate tax of 10 per cent, has no capital gains tax, no withholding tax on offshore companies.

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Mauritius

Mauritius has been used as a gateway to send foreign investments into India taking advantage of loopholes in the bilateral agreement on double taxation between the two countries. Mauritius ranks first among all countries in FDI inflows to India.

No tax is levied on capital gains in the country.

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Seychelles

Seychelles' growth has been led by its tourist sector and tuna fishing. In recent years, the government has encouraged foreign investment to upgrade hotels and other services.

It is, per capita, the most highly indebted country in the world according to the World Bank, with total public debt around 122.8 per cent of GDP.

St. Kitts & Nevis

These islands in the Caribbean Sea are about one-third of the way from Puerto Rico to Trinidad and Tobago.

St. Kitts and Nevis is heavily dependent upon tourism revenues, which has replaced sugar, the traditional mainstay of the economy.

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Netherlands Antilles

It is part of the Lesser Antilles and consists of two groups of islands in the Caribbean Sea: Cura and Bonaire, just off the Venezuelan coast, and Sint Eustatius, Saba and Sint Maarten, located southeast of the Virgin Islands.

The islands' economy depends mostly upon tourism, international financial services, international commerce and shipping and petroleum.

The islands form an autonomous part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

US Virgin Islands

These Caribbean islands lie between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean to the east of Puerto Rico. Tourism is the primary economic activity.

It offers a 90 per cent exemption from US income taxes and 100 per cent exemption from all other taxes and customs duties to certain qualified taxpayers.

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San Marino

It is one of the wealthiest countries in the world in terms of GDP (per capita).

San Marino has a highly stable economy, with the lowest unemployment rate in Europe, no national debt and a budget surplus.

Panama

This Central American nation borders both the Caribbean Sea and the North Pacific Ocean, between Colombia and Costa Rica.

Panama has a well-developed services sector. Services include operating the Panama Canal, banking, the Colon Free Zone, insurance, container ports, flagship registry, and tourism.

Panama has the second most unequal income distribution in Latin America. The government has recently implemented both tax and social security reforms.

Nauru

Nauru has no taxes. The only tax imposed here is an airport departure tax.

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Niue

This island in the South Pacific Ocean is situated to the east of Tonga. Income tax has been lowered, and import tax may be reset to zero except for items like tobacco, alcohol and soft drinks.

Tax on secondary income has been lowered from to 10 per cent.

In 2003, Niue became the world's first 'WiFi nation', in which free wireless Internet access is provided throughout the country by The Internet Users Society-Niue.


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