byffshore financial centers and tax havens remain a popular means for businesses and wealthy individuals to reduce their domestic tax burdens by keeping money abroad. This issue has attracted significant attention from policy makers, who have attempted to eliminate the “international tax gap” — lost domestic tax revenue due to undeclared assets held abroad — by enhancing information exchange among national tax authorities. The value of undeclared assets held abroad has been estimated to be in the range of $5-$7 trillion. But due to the inherent nature of tax evasion — non-reporting and concealment of assets — there is a lack of specific information about the size of the international tax gap and the role that offshore financial centers and tax havens have played in widening that gap.
In a recent study published by the Bank of Italy, we have tried to provide new insight on the magnitude of the international tax gap by analyzing investment position and balance of payments statistics. The paper provides an overview of how tax havens are used as hubs in international financial transactions. Continue reading