Have you suffered from – “Tax havens? You encourage your clients to use them? I don’t know how you live with yourself.” One of our UK members is reported as saying that he only gets through dinner parties nowadays by pretending to be a plumber.
The arguments for and against tax havens and tax planning were articulated at our meeting in Monte-Carlo, last month, by Ronen Palen (against) and Richard Hay (for), Dalila Ver Elst (against) and Anthony Markham (for).
In this debate, the role of the United Kingdom is interestingly ambiguous. While the public is overwhelmingly hostile to tax havens, most of those jurisdictions are – one way or another – British, and, as is well-known, they habitually route their investment activities
through the City. What is less well-known is that the United Kingdom itself can function as a tax haven for non-UK residents. This aspect of the United Kingdom has been discussed at ITPA meetings in the past – e.g. Milton Grundy in Scotsdale in 2003, and by Aparna Nathan in Cyprus in 2008, but never more interestingly than by Geoffrey Simpson in his talk in Monte-Carlo last month. And there is more to come on this topic: a short talk on the Scottish partnership is pencilled in for the programme of our meeting in London next March.