Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Offshore? Tax haven? A Matter of Definition

The desperation of politicians is seen in their attempt to answer a question 'definitively' by using a particular definition that does not accord with a common sense definition. So it is with UK Prime Minister David Cameron, whose office has today denied repeatedly that he benefits from any 'offshore' trust or fund. Well, his deceased father's offshore account, Blairemore, from 2012 has been registered in Ireland. And Ireland is not defined as 'offshore' in the standard lists, so, indeed, the location for doing infamous tax deals such as the 'double Irish', is not an 'offshore' location!

These are the twenty two locations the Bank for International Settlements and the Bank of England define as being 'offshore': Aruba, Bahamas, Bahrain, Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Curacao, Gibraltar, Guernsey, Hong Kong, Isle of Man, Jersey, Lebanon, Macao, Mauritius, Netherlands Antilles, Panama, Samoa, Singapore, Sint Maarten, West Indies UK, Vanuatu.

No, I didn't see Ireland listed there either, nor even the British Virgin Islands. Nor Andorra, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Luxembourg, Delaware in the US or Switzerland or others.

But the omission of Ireland in Cameron's case was a distinction missed by many media journalists.

Tony Norfield, 6 April 2016

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