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I Would Ignore This Private Study Group

EDITOR, The Tribune

Bahamians may be alarmed at a headline calling our corporate tax the world’s most “corrosive”—according to the Corporate Tax Haven Index 2019.

They should relax. This Index is the brain-child of a private study group named Tax Justice Network (TJN), which does a good job of publicising itself with periodic alarmist reports about the secrecy and tax minimisation practised by rich individuals and big companies. It is not backed by any of the well-known inter-government bodies like the IMF, EU, OECD, FATCA, IDB, etc., and thus has no way to enforce its views.

That impotence does not prevent the Index from imposing precise rankings on countries “that have dealt the global corporate tax system a devastating double blow.” The top ten of this rogues’ gallery puts the UK overseas territories Bermuda, BVI and Cayman at the head of the list, followed by The Netherlands, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Jersey and Singapore with The Bahamas in ninth place, topping only Hong Kong. Seems like much of the world is out of bounds for an honest guy.

TJN issues many over-heated bulletins of questionable accuracy like “an estimated (how? by whom?) 500 billion in corporate tax is dodged every year, enough to pay the UN’s under-funded human-aid budget 20 times over.” With no head office, TJN is a UK registered private company led by two English non-university economists supervising a scattered staff of about 20 directors and employees. Its 2017 annual report shows its entire funding of about one million pounds was provided by grants from the Ford Foundation and several lesser known charitable think-tanks.

Our own tax and compliance systems may be far from perfect, but I trust we will not need to rely on any expertise provided by Tax Justice Network.

RICHARD COULSON

Nassau

May 31, 2019

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