Réponse aux USA et …
U.S., Panama among few nations shunning OECD transparency plan
Focus on havens comes as 100 countries sign disclosure deal
« Panama and the U.S. have at least one thing in common: Neither has agreed to new international standards to make it harder for tax evaders and money launderers to hide their money.
Over the past several years, amid increased scrutiny by journalists, regulators and law enforcers, the global tax-haven landscape has shifted. In an effort to catch tax dodgers, almost 100 countries and other jurisdictions have agreed since 2014 to impose new disclosure requirements for bank accounts, trusts and some other investments held by international customers — standards issued by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a government-funded international policy group.
Places like Switzerland and Bermuda are agreeing, at least in principle, to share bank account information with tax authorities in other countries. Only a handful of nations have declined to sign on. The most prominent is the U.S. Another, Panama, is at the center of a storm over tax evasion and global cash flight that broke out over the weekend.
A law firm there helped set up tens of thousands of shell companies, according to a report by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. ICIJ and other news organizations published reports they said showed global efforts to hide wealth, undertaken by global politicians and the ultra-rich, with the aid of banks and lawyers. The central tool: shell companies that people used to shield the identity of the owners’ assets. While such structures can be legal, they can also support efforts to avoid taxes.
The latest reporting « underscores the secrecy in Panama, » said Stefanie Ostfeld, the acting head of the U.S. office of the anti-corruption group Global Witness. « What’s lesser known, is the U.S. is just as big a secrecy jurisdiction as so many of these Caribbean countries and Panama. We should not want to be the playground for the world’s dirty money, which is what we are right now. »
Advisers around the world are increasingly using the U.S. resistance to the OECD’s standards as a marketing tool — attracting overseas money to U.S. state-level tax and secrecy havens like Nevada and South Dakota, potentially keeping it hidden from their home governments.
Last month, members of Congress in both the House and Senate introduced bills to require disclosure of the true owners of U.S. companies, an effort to crack down on money laundering and tax evasion.
In 2010, Congress passed the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, or Fatca, as the U.S. Justice Department began prosecuting Swiss banks for enabling tax evasion. Fatca forces certain financial firms to disclose to the Internal Revenue Service any foreign accounts held by U.S. citizens.
Fatca doesn’t, however, bind banks to provide information on foreigners with U.S. accounts to regulators abroad. The U.S. has entered into agreements with some other countries requiring such exchange with foreign regulators, but tax planners say they are considered relatively easy to avoid. »
Advisors such as Rothschild, profiled initially by Bloomberg’s Jesse Drucker.
Rothschild, the centuries-old European financial institution, has opened a trust company in Reno, Nev., a few blocks from the Harrah’s and Eldorado casinos. It is now moving the fortunes of wealthy foreign clients out of offshore havens such as Bermuda, subject to the new international disclosure requirements, and into Rothschild-run trusts in Nevada, which are exempt.
For financial advisers, the current state of play is simply a good business opportunity. In a draft of his San Francisco presentation, Rothschild’s Penney wrote that the U.S. « is effectively the biggest tax haven in the world. » The U.S., he added in language later excised from his prepared remarks, lacks “the resources to enforce foreign tax laws and has little appetite to do so.”