Switzerland is still world’s top tax haven says report

SWITZERLAND, despite bank settlements with the US to disclose tax evaders, remains the top refuge for financial secrecy, according to a new international ranking of tax haven countries.

Switzerland is the world leader in financial opacity, only grudgingly conforming with disclosure agreements among developed countries while courting tax evaders in developing nations, said a report released by the nonprofit, nonpartisan Tax Justice Network.

Steeped in a long tradition of bank secrecy, Switzerland has recently signed information sharing agreements as part of a reporting program with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

But these efforts have been “ineffective”, the report said.

Switzerland’s “widespread involvement in the administration and use of trusts, foundations and offshore companies remain a major barrier to tackling tax evasion and illicit financial flows,” the report said.

Officials at the Swiss embassy in Washington were not immediately available for comment yesterday. The US ranked fifth, behind Switzerland, the Cayman Islands, Luxembourg and Hong Kong.