With which countries do tax havens share information?

In recent years, tax havens and offshore financial centres have come under increasing political pressure to cooperate with other countries in matters of taxation and in efforts to reduce tax evasion and avoidance. As a result many tax havens have signed tax information exchange agreements (TIEAs). In order to comply with OECD standards tax havens are obliged to sign at least 12 TIEAs with other countries. This research investigates how tax havens have chosen their partner countries. We ask whether they have signed TIEAs with countries to which they have strong economic links or whether they have systematically avoided doing this, so that information exchange remains ineffective. We analyse 565 TIEAs signed by tax havens in the years 2008–2011. We find that on average tax havens have signed more TIEAs with countries to which they have strong economic links. Our analysis thus suggests that tax havens do not systematically undermine tax information exchange by signing TIEAs with irrelevant countries. However, this does not mean that they exchange information with all important partner countries.

Katarzyna Bilicka and Clemens Fuest