4 Countries on Tax Haven List Pledge to Comply

Apr 7, 2009 12:45 PM PST
PARIS — Costa Rica, the Philippines, Malaysia and Uruguay are now off a black list of countries that have not committed to the internationally agreed tax standards.

The four countries named on the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's list of tax havens have pledged to commit to an exchange of information with the group, according to the OECD’s Angel Gurria.

"The four jurisdictions have now made full commitment to exchange information," Gurria said at a press conference Tuesday in Paris.

The announcement could catch businesses — including numerous adult companies — that are based in those countries off-guard.

Two major fears emerge with the announcement: One concern is paying a double tax on money earned outside the former tax haven.

And the second concern has to do with the transparency of the tax process. In order to enforce any overseas tax measure, tax officials would have to have access to income and banking records in the U.S. Canada and in whatever other countries ex-patriots hold accounts.

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COUNTRIES AND THEIR FINANCIAL OPENNESS

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has published a report on progress by 84 countries and territories toward financial openness on the exchange of tax information.

The OECD divides countries into three categories: those that comply with rules on sharing tax information (white list), those that say they will but have yet to act (gray list), and nations that have not yet agreed to change banking secrecy practices (blacklist).

Gray List

Costa Rica, Malaysia, Philippines and Uruguay were added Tuesday after being taken off blacklist.

As well as: Andorra, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Bahrain, Belize, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Cook Islands, Dominica, Gibraltar, Grenada, Liberia, Liechtenstein, Marshall Islands, Monaco, Montserrat, Nauru, Netherlands Antilles, Niue, Panama, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Turks and Caicos Islands, Vanuatu.

The following gray list countries haven't fully implemented the rules, but do not fit the classic definition of tax havens: Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Chile, Guatemala, Luxembourg, Singapore and Switzerland.

White List

Argentina, Australia, Barbados, Canada, China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau), Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guernsey, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Isle of Man, Italy, Japan, Jersey, Korea, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Seychelles, Slovak Republic, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Britain, U.S. and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Blacklist

None.

Unlisted

Hong Kong and Macau are referred to as special administrative regions of China that the OECD says "have committed to implement the internationally agreed tax standard."

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