OECD names 21 high-risk golden passport schemes

Thursday, 18 October 2018
The OECD has named 21 jurisdictions offering 'golden passport or visa schemes’ that it regards as potentially high-risk, in that they give wealthy individuals access to low income tax on their global assets but do not require them to spend much time in the jurisdiction.

 

It says such citizenship- or residence-by-investment schemes can be abused to misrepresent an individual's tax residence, thus endangering tax enforcement by the automatic exchange of information.

The listed jurisdictions are: Antigua and Barbuda; Bahamas; Bahrain; Barbados; Colombia; Cyprus; Dominica; Grenada; Malaysia; Malta; Mauritius; Monaco; Montserrat; Panama; Qatar; Seychelles; St Kitts and Nevis; St Lucia; Turks and Caicos Islands; United Arab Emirates; and Vanuatu.

The most politically sensitive names on the list are the three EU Member States of Cyprus, Malta and Monaco. The EU Justice Commissioner, Vera Jourova, has already given notice that the European Commission considers some citizen-by-investment schemes to pose a security threat to the EU, and is considering action to regulate them.

The Investment Migration Council (IMC), a lobbying organisation for the industry, defended the practice but said a strict ethical code was needed. The IMC's Chief Executive, Bruno L'ecuyer, said he had no doubt that 'there is a protectionist perspective that dominates certain countries' regarding investment migration.

The OECD has also published practical guidance for financial institutions to help them identify and prevent cases of CRS avoidance through the use of such schemes. Where there are doubts regarding the tax residence of a scheme user who is trying to open an account, the OECD has recommended further questions that a financial institution may raise with the individual.

Sources

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