Saturday, April 4, 2009

Tax Havens Clampdown

Bad news from various media sources for those divorcing who wish to squirrel assets offshore to prevent their spouse's claim to financial relief - the G20 leaders have agreed measures to clampdown on the secrecy of international tax havens.

Apart from a published blacklist of tax havens there is a grey list of countries where international standards have been agreed but not yet fully implemented. On this list, alongside Austria, Liechtenstein, Monaco and Switzerland, is Luxembourg and according to the Luxemburger Wort the Luxemburgers are not happy.

Luxembourg's Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker protests against the lack of transparency in which the OECD has set up the grey list. Having dealt with financial institutions in Luxembourg and Jersey over many years I agree with him, Luxembourg just isn't in the same league as those places with long standing reputations as tax havens.

The problem with Luxembourg isn't secrecy, it's red tape. If you go about things the right way information is available, but it does help if you speak Luxembourgish and understand the workings of the institutions there. Someone working on my behalf in a Jersey bank once likened it to bureaucracy  in India and nothing like working with a modern West European country.

So if your marriage is on the rocks and in the unlikely event your spouse has 'hidden' assets in Luxembourg my advice is do not panic, there is every chance they can be traced - it just takes time.

Article Source Luxemburger Wort 4/4/09
(Be warned the Google translation of the article is rather strange!)


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