The US has overtaken the Cayman Islands and Singapore in a financial secrecy name-and-shame list compiled biennially by the UK-based advocacy group Tax Justice Network.
The Financial Secrecy Index ranks countries on “their secrecy and the scale of their offshore financial activities.” Switzerland topped the list, with Hong Kong following closely behind in second place.
The UK ranked 15th—but it would come out on top if the report had treated the UK and its dependent territories as a single unit.
|Rank||Jurisdiction||FSI Value||Secrecy Score||Global Scale Weight|
|10||United Arab Emirates (Dubai)||440.8||77||0.085|
The report notes that most countries scores have improved as the world is taking “real action” to tackle financial secrecy. The OECD introduced the automatic information exchange this year, whereby countries can share information to curb tax evasion, and the EU is creating central registers of beneficial owners, which is openly available to everyone, and is forcing multinationals to provide country-by-country financial data.
While this progress should be applauded, the report warns some countries are blocking and sabotaging these efforts. The US is of “greatest concern,” rising from sixth to third—one of the few countries whose secrecy score worsened after 2013. “The US has not seriously addressed its own role in attracting illicit financial flows and supporting tax evasion,” the TJN report notes.
Though the Obama administration has made some attempts to tighten rules on offshore tax loopholes, it was the government’s refusal participate in the OECD’s global reporting standard for bank data that has landed it so high on the list.