Documented: The World’s Top Tax Havens and the EU’s pseudo-listi

Documented: The World’s Top Tax Havens and the EU’s pseudo-list

The World’s Top Tax Havens

The UK-based Tax Justice Network’s new Financial Secrecy Index (1) estimates that the ultra-wealthy are hiding up to $32 trillion in tax havens around the world, and while Switzerland gets the top spot on the new list, the U.S. is a not-so-distant second.

Not even major global scandals such as the Panama and Paradise papers have been able to slow the rise of the bigger and better tax havens, as global industry growth has billion-dollar asset owners looking for the ultimate haven to stow away gains.


2 USA The U.S. is on a tear on the competition for the top tax haven spot, rising for the third time in five years, and now capturing the number two slot. In 2015, the U.S. was in third place, and in 2013, it was in sixth.

Between 2015 and 2018, U.S. market share of global offshore financial services rose 14 percent, from 19.6 percent to 22.3 percent.

Delaware, Nevada and Wyoming are the most aggressive tax havens, often described as ‘captured states’.

When it comes specifically to offshore financial services, then, the U.S. now has the largest market share, rivalled only by the City of London, according to FSI, which notes that foreign country elites use the U.S. “as a bolt-hole for looted wealth”.

The baggage is piling up. Take the Delaware tax haven, for instance. It’s housing a company in “good standing” that is used for trafficking children for sex but can’t be shut down because it doesn’t have a physical presence in the state, according to Quartz.

6 Luxembourg

This is a tiny state in the European Union that packs a massive tax haven punch. Despite its size, it is said to control 12 percent of the global market share for offshore financial services. The FSI estimates that its 143 banks are managing assets of around $800 billion.

Luxembourg has a secrecy ranking of 58.

7 Germany

Major tax loopholes and lax enforcement have bumped Germany to number seven on the FSI’s list, despite being one of the world’s biggest economies and not intentionally focusing on global financial services. It corners about 5 percent of market share in the sector, and ranks 59 in terms of secrecy.




2018 Secrecy Ranking

– full index –

1. Switzerland

2. USA

3. Cayman Islands*

4. Hong Kong

5. Singapore

6. Luxembourg

7. Germany

8. Taiwan

9. United Arab Emirates (Dubai)

10. Guernsey*

11. Lebanon

12. Panama

13. Japan

14. Netherlands

15. Thailand

* British overseas territory or crown dependency. If Britain’s network were assessed together, it would be at the top.

Anmerkung m.z.: Anfang Dezember 2017 hatten sich die EU-Finanzminster erstmals auf eine Liste von 17 Steueroasen geeinigt. Eineinhalb Monate später strich das Gremium gleich wieder acht davon (fett gedruckt). Die Unterschiede zur jüngsten Liste des 2018 Secrecy Ranking (Tax Justice Network) sind auffällig.

The EU Tax Haven List (Dec 2017); mid-January 2018 eight tax havens (in bold-type) were annulled.








die Marshallinseln,





St. Lucia,


Trinidad und Tobago,


Vereinigte Arabische Emirate.

financial secrecy index 2018 – Interactive Maps


Please click here to access the interactive overview map


Please click here to access the interactive detailed map

Martin Zeis

globalcrisis/-change News

March 15, 2018