Action and reaction?

It seems to me that there has been some movement in the field of the automatic exchange of information, and that this is going to take the process in an interesting direcetion. In my last post I wrote that there are countries which have been big winners up until now through international tax competition and have acquired very serious status. Now, however, they are incapable of managing the process, and can’t find the right answers to the questions, so risk losing that status.

At the same time, there are also countries who, with clever solutions, wish to profit from the international shake-up, which the OECD wants to let loose on us like an avalanche. The action and reaction principle is visibly prevailing here, too. If there is a demand for something, then very soon the supply will also appear. I hope you recognise the first rule of the market economy.

I have already mentioned Cyprus in earlier posts, and their desire to remain a member of the international financial centres „club”. One of their „answers” to the 2017 exchange of information has been to amend the law on personal income tax. Based on the Maltese model, special, particularly attractive rules will be applied to the taxation of foreigners with „resident, but not domiciled status.” These rules will be of benefit primarily to those who have managed to accumulate significant amounts of capital in their accounts. Even before now, Cyprus did not tax capital gains. From now on, interest and dividends will also be subject to attractive tax rules, which means that those capital owners relocating to Cyprus will come out particularly well.

St. Lucia has become the latest small Caribbean country to join the ranks of nations offering citizenship by investment programmes. The first applications can be sent in from January 1st, with a maximum of 500 applications being approved each year. One very attractive element of the programmes is that applicants can now qualify for citizenship through the investment of 500 000 USD in government bonds.

It looks like one of the responses in defence against the disadvantageous effects of the exchange of information will be for beneficial owners to relocate to countries where income is taxed more favourably. And as soon as demand appears, so the supply immediately follows.

Action, reaction…

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