Friday, February 26, 2021
Steven Dean (Brooklyn) presents Ten Truths About Tax Havens: Inclusion and the 'Liberia Problem' (with Attiya Waris (University of Nairobi; Google Scholar)) virtually at Allard School of Law, University of British Columbia today as part of its Tax Law and Policy Workshop Speaker Series hosted by Wei Cui:
There has been a decades-long effort to repair an increasingly fragile international tax system. One reason it has foundered has been what we identify as the ‘Liberia problem’. In 2000, the powerful Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development identified Liberia—but not Switzerland—as a tax haven and targeted it for sanctions. It did not go well. During the two decades since, everything has changed yet seemingly from this lens of inclusion nothing has changed at all. Awkwardly similar “blacklists” still target ‘Black’ and ‘Brown’ jurisdictions despite the fact that experts mean something quite different when they speak of the harms caused by secrecy jurisdictions. We think differently in important respects, but we share a conviction that a more inclusive and more level playing field in the international tax arena would benefit all states.
To show why, we offer a series of possible “truths” designed to prompt a long-overdue conversation about perceptions of bias and privilege in international taxation.