Tax competition is an issue that arouses passion on both sides of
the debate. Libertarians and other free-market advocates welcome tax
competition as a way of restraining the greed of politicians. Governments have lowered tax rates in recent decades, for instance,
because politicians are afraid that the geese that lay the golden eggs
can fly across the border.
But collectivists despise tax competition -- for exactly the same reason. They want investors, entrepreneurs and companies to passively serve as free vending machines, dispensing never-ending piles of money for politicians. So when a left-wing group puts together a ranking of the world's "top secrecy jurisdictions" in hopes of undermining tax competition, proponents of individual freedom can use that list as a guide to world's most investor-friendly nations, says the Cato Institute.
The good news is that an American state, Delaware, is number one on the list. And since being a tax haven is a magnet for investment, this is good news for U.S. competitiveness. The bad news is that American taxpayers are not allowed to benefit from many of Delaware's "tax haven" policies, says Cato.
Here's what a left-wing columnist in the United Kingdom wrote about the issue:
- One of the smallest states in the United States, it offers the best protection for anyone who does not want to disclose their identity as a beneficial owner of a company.
- That is one very good reason why the East Coast state hosts 50 percent of the United States' quoted firms and 650,000 companies -- almost equivalent to one company per Delaware resident.
- Delaware offers high levels of banking secrecy and does not make details of trusts, company accounts and beneficial ownership a matter of public record.
- Delaware also allows companies to re-domicile within its borders with minimal disclosure, and allows the existence of privacy-enhancing "protected cell" or "segregated portfolio" companies, among many other stratagems useful for protecting the identity of those who do business there.
Source: Daniel J. Mitchell, "The World's Best Tax Haven: In America, but Unavailable to Americans," Cato Institute, November 2, 2009.