Tax havens lose their attraction

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Norwegians who’ve stashed wealth abroad, to avoid paying taxes on it, are about to lose the anonymity of tax havens they once enjoyed. Banks in more than 100 countries including Norway are starting to exchange account information that reveal holdings their owners wanted to keep secret. 

Norwegian tax director Hans Christian Holte warns that by September 30, Norwegian tax authorities will have received information from banks in around 50 countries regarding customers with tax obligations to Norway. It’s the first phase of what will become automatic exchange of information among banks and tax authorities in more than 100 countries.

Norwegians with undeclared bank accounts and other wealth abroad have been offered an amnesty period in recent years that’s about to run out. Those declaring overseas holdings have  avoided punitive fines and only been responsible for paying back taxes. From now on, if caught with overseas holdings revealed by the new exchange of bank information, they’ll be subject to both.

Researchers have estimated that Norwegian households had around NOK 76 billion in tax havens in 2007. Since then, nearly 2,000 Norwegians have declared formerly hidden wealth amounting to around NOK 65 billion, and taxable income of NOK 2.4 billion.

newsinenglish.no staff