Tax Havens and Offshore Centers – A Reality of the 21st Century

Maria Nițu
Iulia-Oana Ștefănescu
JEL codes: 
H2 - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue, H26 - Tax Evasion.
In the context of the globalization process, an important part of multinational companies have become concerned with the tax optimization of economic activities, developing international tax planning strategies, with profits being directed through offshore companies, from tax havens(from high tax to low-tax countries). The phenomenon of tax-avoidance solutions in countries of origin determines companies to move away from national economies and to create, through complex and sophisticated methods, their own offshore savings from existing tax havens, process which is in a continuous development. However, these situations create serious social problems in developing countries and generate large losses of national budgets worldwide. The main areas of interest in offshore centers are banking, financial insurance, asset protection, gambling, thus providing a real infrastructure for this. In recent years, much of foreign investment has been routed through offshore companies in tax havens with massive implications for living standards, socio-economic development, disregarding morality, ethics and social responsibility. Since 2001, this phenomenon has also emerged in Romania, when offshore foreign direct investments were made, foreign holdings in Romanian capital appeared and companies were listed on the Bucharest Stock Exchange. These indicators are made annually in the form of statistics by the National Bank of Romania and the monthly reports produced by the National Trade Register Office. Therefore, at the moment, international and national economists are constantly looking for solutions to combat tax evasion and money laundering through offshore tax havens. This article is a study on the theoretical aspects of offshore centers and tax havens, the main features of the creation, operation and main practices of offshore companies as well as the impact of tax havens on the incidence on national and developing economies. Then I will focus on the incidence of tax havens being used by Romanian subjects using the statistics provided by the National Bank of Romania and the National Trade Register Office.
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