OECD Program Uncovers €4.9 Trillion in Offshore Holdings
11 Jun 2019

An intergovernmental initiative to crack down on tax cheats has uncovered €4.9 trillion (USD 5.5 trillion) held offshore for individual and corporations in approximately 47 million bank accounts.

The data, published Friday by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), is the result of a broader effort by the Group of 20 to stop the criminal exploitation of bank secrecy laws by tasking nations to automate information-sharing on bank accounts held in their jurisdiction on behalf of foreign nationals.

The OECD, which has led the effort on behalf of the G20, said Friday that the widespread adoption of its exchange-of-information (EOI) initiative had led to an estimated 500,000 individuals disclosing offshore assets to their domestic tax authorities for the first time. Voluntary disclosures and separate investigations preceding the full implementation of the initiative led to an additional €95 billion in tax revenue for participating nations, the OECD said.

Over 90 jurisdictions have taken part in the transparency initiative under the OECD’s Common Reporting Standards since 2018. The bulk account data is shared through approximately 4,500 bilateral agreements marking the “largest exchange of tax information in history,” said the OECD, which also partly attributed a decline in offshore accounts since 2008 to its efforts.

“The international community has brought about an unprecedented level of transparency in tax matters, which will bring concrete results for government revenues and services in the years to come,” OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria, in a statement. “The transparency initiatives we have designed and implemented through the G20 have uncovered a deep pool of offshore funds that can now be effectively taxed by authorities worldwide.”

To better assess the impact of the program, the OECD may extend its analysis to consider other kinds of offshore assets, including property, insurance products, shares and securities, according to the group.

Read more:

In Defence of Offshore

2018: Data leaks set to boost new law targeting offshore tax evasion

US: Offshore money, bane of democracy

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