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Paper Looks At 'Tax Haven'-Use Trends Globally

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The US-based National Bureau of Economic Research has released a new report that looks at which countries' taxpayers have the most wealth stored in so-called "offshore tax havens."

Ten percent of world gross domestic product is held in "tax havens" globally, says NBER, in a summary on its new report. However, the use of tax havens by taxpayers varies widely from country to country.

Assets located in offshore tax havens amount to just a few percent of GDP for taxpayers in Scandinavia, to about 15 percent in Continental Europe, and 60 percent in Gulf countries and some Latin American economies.

The report uses these estimates to construct revised series of top wealth shares in ten countries, which account for close to half of world GDP.

"Because offshore wealth is very concentrated at the top, accounting for it increases the top 0.01 percent wealth share substantially in Europe, even in countries that do not use tax havens extensively," NBER said, noting "it has considerable effects in Russia, where the vast majority of wealth at the top is held offshore. These results highlight the importance of looking beyond tax and survey data to study wealth accumulation among the very rich in a globalized world."