Tourism and tax havens


The European Union has released a list of tax heavens which are countries enabling companies and individuals to move profits to avoid taxation.

The extensive list is divided in a criteria that labels economic zones in two categories, from “vanishing and tax evasion” to “non-cooperative” countries, where firms are taking advantage 0% corporate tax rates to shield their profits.

The file of 17 of implicit “ tax evasion points” include well established and booming economies, such as South Korea and United Arab Emirates, Macau, a previous Portuguese territory, and small islands administrative or politically dependant from the United Kingdom or the United States, such as American Samoa, Barbados, Grenada, Guam, Marshall Islands, Palau, Saint Lucia, Samoa, Trinidad and Tobago.

Less impressive economies like Bahrain, Mongolia, Namibia and Tunisia also feature in the so called tax heavens.

British Overseas territories and the crown dependencies, such as the the Isles of Man, Jersey, Guernsey, Cayman and Bermuda, which are extremely popular destinations for tourism and offshore investments are not included in these files.

In addition to this inventory the EU drew up a also “grey” list of 47 countries, including Cape Verde, which are not presently compliant with European tax standards, but who have committed to change their rules.

The anti-tax avoidance campaigns drafted by the European Council’s Code of Conduct wants to clamp down on the estimated 506 billion Pounds lost to EU member countries in tax avoidance every year.

It is however difficult to implement any commitments from countries and territories featuring on both lists, due to the scale of tax evasion worldwide and the different concepts of what is unfair tax competition and opacity and what some economies see as legitimate opportunities to save money for corporations and individuals.

As long as tax havens remain at worldwide, and coincidentally also happen to be tourism havens, it is hard to believe that global scenario will change.

Jay Fernandes
Master’s Degree G. Ph. from the University of Lisbon. Academic and teacher. Television , radio and press reporter / commentator