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What Is Tax Haven? Why Are All Tycoons so Crush on Them?

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What is tax haven? Why are all tycoons so crush on them?

In January 9, 2015, Cheung Kong Holdings Limited announced the restructuring arrangement of combining Cheung Kong Holdings and Hutchison Whampoa to form a new listed company: “CK Hutchison Holdings Limited”. This newly established company is incorporated at Cayman Islands (SCMP, 2015) which has been commonly known as “tax haven”. As the name implies, tax haven is a place where levy taxes at a very low rate or even not at all to companies registered there. It has been an interesting phenomenon that most of the largest corporations in the world, they are not registered at the place where they operate their major business or make most of the profits. Indeed, how is this mechanism works? How could the multi-national corporations in the world transfer their profits made all over the world to these tax havens to avoid tax?

Advantages of tax havens
If we look at the figures provided by HKEX in 2013, 724 out of 1602 companies listed in Hong Kong Stock Exchange market are incorporated in Cayman Islands (881903, 2015). This has indicated that it has already been a common practice for listed companies to be registered in these offshore financial centre. Take Cayman Islands as an example, being one of the most popular tax havens in the world, not only it has a no profit tax levied, but also it comes with much looser company law and other financial regulations. For the investors who want to register a company in Cayman Islands, there is no foreign exchange control, nor any restriction on the nationality of registrants. Moreover, Cayman Islands has never signed any tax treaty with other jurisdictions, which means shareholders’ information are always kept classified, hardly could the tax authority from other countries to trace the capital flow of the company through these tax havens.
All the above advantages have...

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