The Oxfam list ranks the countries by how far it judges them to “facilitate the most extreme forms of tax dodging”, including low corporation tax rates and non-cooperation with tax avoidance investigations.
The report names Bermuda as the “world’s worst” corporate tax haven, accusing it and other nations of “driving the race to the bottom in corporate taxation.”
The island beat off competition for the ignominious crown from the Cayman Islands and the Netherlands in second and third respectively, while Ireland came in at sixth.
Bermuda’s deputy premier and minister of finance Bob Richards said: “Oxfam, directly and indirectly, appears simply to have ignored Bermuda’s internationally recognised role as a centre of corporate and tax transparency and compliance.”
Meanwhile, the Bermuda Development Authority also got in on the act, citing its role as a centre of global insurance products.
Its chief executive Ross Webber said that Bermuda had an “enormously positive impact globally – including on the very regions and populations Oxfam wrongly accuses us of threatening.”
Bermuda ranks 34th on the Tax Justice Network’s Financial Secrecy Index – below the UK – but tops Oxfam’s list owing to its zero corporate tax rate, which Oxfam argues allows companies to avoid paying tax.
According to Oxfam US multinational companies reported 2012 profits of $80bn in Bermuda – more than all profits reported in Japan, China, Germany and France combined.