Conduit and Sink OFCs
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|An aspect of fiscal policy|
Traditional methods for identifying tax havens analyse tax and legal structures for base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) tools. However, this approach follows a purely quantitative approach, ignoring any taxation or legal concepts, to instead follow a big data analysis of the ownership chains of 98 million global companies. The technique gives both a method of classification and a method of understanding the relative scale – but not absolute scale – of havens/OFCs.
The results were published by the University of Amsterdam's CORPNET Group in 2017, and identified two classifications:
- 24 global sink OFCs: jurisdictions in which a "disproportional amount of value disappears from the economic system" (i.e. the traditional tax havens).
- Five global conduit OFCs: jurisdictions "through which a disproportional amount of value moves toward sink OFCs" (i.e. modern corporate tax havens).
Our findings debunk the myth of tax havens as exotic far-flung islands that are difficult, if not impossible, to regulate. Many offshore financial centers are highly developed countries with strong regulatory environments.— Javier Garcia-Bernardo, Jan Fichtner, Frank W. Takes & Eelke M. Heemskerk, CORPNET University of Amsterdam
In 2017, the European Parliament adopted the CORPNET approach into their frameworks for addressing tax havens. In 2018, research by Gabriel Zucman showed that using Orbis database connections specifically underestimates the scale of Ireland, which the Zucman–Tørsløv–Wier 2018 list showed is the largest Conduit OFC in the world. This aside, CORPNET's Conduits and Sinks reconcile closely with the most noted academic top ten tax haven lists.