Four things you may have missed in the ICIJ's Panama Papers report

 
Hayley Kirton
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Panama Canal
From tax rates to Panama's absence, here's what we spotted when we looked over the report again (Source: Getty)

There's no denying that 2.6 terabytes worth of data is a lot to wade through, so it's not surprising that Sunday's Panama Papers report by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) was quite a lot to take in.

Now that you've had a few days to get your head around the report, here's four things you may not have noticed at first glance:

Panama doesn't take centre-stage in the Panama Papers

Despite being the report's namestake, Panama doesn't feature as much in the data as you might initially think. It ranked as only fifth in the list of countries where intermediaries were operating and is only second on the list of most popular tax havens being used, behind the British Virgin Islands. Although it did take the lead for bearer shares, it was lagging behind the British Virgin Islands until the early-2000s.

In recent years, there's been more offshore structures shut down than set up

In 2015, a total of 4,341 companies were activated by Mossack Fonseca's clients. By contrast, the amount deactived was more than double at 8,864. It's a far cry from the heyday of forming overseas structures. Back in 2005, 13,287 were activated compared with 6,339 being deactivated.

Three regions have people both fleeing from and flocking to their tax rate

Three regions are listed in the top 10 for both the most popular tax havens cited in the leaked documents and the regions that had been involved in setting up the most offshore companies for their clients. The countries in question are Panama, Hong Kong and – believe it or not – the UK.

The average rate of corporation tax in the top 10 tax havens is not as low as you'd think it is

At 14.4 per cent, the mean average tax rate applicable to corporations for the top 10 tax rates is pretty generous, but not as generous as some might have thought. So why go to all the hassle? Sometimes it's not so much to do with savings as it is privacy as some of the jurisdictions on the list below offer a low-to-no red tape approach to incorporation.

Region listed Tax rate Notes
British Virgin Islands 0%
Panama 25% Different rates apply in different regions
Bahamas 0%
Seychelles 25% Rate applies to companies for the first SR 1,000,000
Niue 30%
Samoa 27%
British Anguilla 0%
Nevada 0%
Hong Kong 16.5%
UK 20%

Panama papers: What you need to know

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