In May 2009 American President Barack Obama spoke of how an address in the Cayman Islands housed 12,000 companies. Alluding to the possibility of illegal activity, he noted that this location was either the biggest building in the world or “the largest tax scam in the world.”  This image of Offshore Financial Centers (OFCs) as havens for wrongdoing is generally held throughout the world.
Recent data indicates that the Cayman Islands holds over 670 billion American Dollars in banking assets from international investors. Because of such statistics, these small islands are considered a global villain, a haven for illegal capital. According to the OECD Harmful Tax Competition: An Emerging Global Issue (1998 Tax Report) jurisdictions that (a) imposes no or only nominal taxes, (b) lacks policy of effective exchange information, (c) lacks transparency and (d) has no requirement of “substantial activity” is identified as a tax haven.
A Background Information Brief released by the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) in March 2010 acknowledged the implementation of the Cayman’s actions towards transparency and information exchange. Despite this report’s recognition of the Caymans, it touched upon only a few of the measures that have been taken by the Cayman Islands in the last few years. These improvements in the Cayman’s internal structure and the regulatory actions taken by the Cayman Islands have enhanced the islands’ status within the international community. The Cayman’s pejorative title as a “tax haven” is, therefore, incorrect.
First, this article will examine the true atmosphere of the Cayman Islands, and how this British territory and the 5th largest banking center in the world is cooperating with the OECD and other jurisdictions by partaking in several Tax Information Exchange Agreements (TIEAs). Second, this article also aims to defend the valuable and important role of international policy distinctions among nations as a pursuit of effectiveness in the financial system worldwide [More]