Corporate haven

A corporate haven, corporate tax haven, or multinational tax haven, was used to describe a jurisdiction that multinational corporations find attractive for establishing subsidiaries or incorporation of regional or main company headquarters, mostly due to favourable tax regimes (not just the headline tax rate), and/or favourable secrecy laws (such as the avoidance of regulations or disclosure of tax schemes), and/or favourable regulatory regimes (such as weak data-protection or employment laws).

While the "headline" corporate tax rate in jurisdictions most often implicated in base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) is always above zero (e.g. Netherlands at 25%, U.K. at 19%, Singapore at 17%, and Ireland at 12.5%), the "effective" tax rate (ETR) of multinational corporations, net of the BEPS tools, is closer to zero. To increase respectability, and access to tax treaties, some jurisdictions like Singapore and Ireland require corporates to have a "substantive presence", equating to an "employment tax" of approximately 2–3% of profits shielded and if these are real jobs, the tax is mitigated.

In corporate tax haven lists, CORPNET's "Orbis connections", ranks the Netherlands, U.K., Switzerland, Ireland, and Singapore as the world's key corporate tax havens, while Zucman's "quantum of funds" ranks Ireland as the largest global corporate tax haven. In proxy tests, Ireland is the largest recipient of U.S. tax inversions (the U.K. is third, the Netherlands is fifth). Ireland's double Irish BEPS tool is credited with the largest build-up of untaxed corporate offshore cash in history. Luxembourg and Hong Kong and the Caribbean "triad" (BVI-Cayman-Bermuda), have elements of corporate tax havens, but also of traditional tax havens.

Unlike traditional tax havens, modern corporate tax havens reject they have anything to do with near-zero effective tax rates, due to their need to encourage jurisdictions to enter into bilateral tax treaties which accept the haven's BEPS tools. CORPNET show each corporate tax haven is strongly connected with specific traditional tax havens (via additional BEPS tool "backdoors" like the double Irish, the dutch sandwich, and single malt). Corporate tax havens promote themselves as "knowledge economies", and IP as a "new economy" asset, rather than a tax management tool, which is encoded into their statute books as their primary BEPS tool. This perceived respectability encourages corporates to use these IFCs as regional headquarters (i.e. Google, Apple, and Facebook use Ireland in EMEA over Luxembourg, and Singapore in APAC over Hong Kong/Taiwan.

Economic Substance legislation introduced in recent years has identified that BEPS is not a material part of the financial services business for Cayman, BVI and Bermuda. While the legislation was originally resisted on extraterritoriality, human rights, privacy, international justice, jurisprudence and colonialism grounds, the introduction of these regulations have had the effect of putting these jurisdictions far ahead of onshore regulatory regimes.