Canada’s deep offshore tax haven connections

UBC tax law expert David Duff was quoted in a Business in Vancouver article about the Panama Papers leak. Duff says offshore bank accounts are nothing new.

“Any Canadian-based multinational is going to look at its international operations and devise arrangements to minimize tax,” Duff said. “Typically they’ll do it legally, and they will generally do that with … a subsidiary that performs a financing function.”

Experts have called for the creation of tax information agreements to minimize tax evasion, but Duff says such mechanisms have limited use. In an earlier article, Duff noted that such agreements generally only involve information exchange if the data is “foreseeably relevant” to the enforcement of taxes.

“The increasing standard for information exchange around the world is what’s called spontaneous or automatic information exchange, where the tax agencies just share data,” said Duff.