Editorial: Closing the havens

August 17th, 2009

Financial Times

Last week was not kind to tax evaders. Liechtenstein agreed an information-sharing treaty with the UK that, should it serve as a model for the principality’s deals with other countries, would put it out of the tax-haven business. The OECD recognised the Cayman and British Virgin Islands as having implemented the organisation’s tax standards. The US forced more names of suspected tax evaders out of Swiss bank UBS. The war on tax piracy is making progress.

Supporters of bank secrecy have wrung their imaginations dry in coming up with ingenious defences for secret accounts. The very real fear of kidnapping in places such as Latin America is one of the few good reasons that might justify allowing the rich to hide their wealth. But for the most part opacity simply helps to evade taxes.

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