Will the OECD initiative on harmful tax competition help developing and transition countries?

In connection with its initiative on harmful tax competition, the OECD issued a list of uncooperative tax havens in 2002. Upon the issuance of the list, the Chair of the OECD Committee on Fiscal Affairs stated that the ultimate success of the project will benefit all countries: OECD countries and non-OECD economies, including developing countries and those with economies in transition. This article examines whether that outcome is likely. The article first considers how tax havens are used to evade tax on income from passive investments. The article then describes the OECD project and discusses both the appearance and the reality of progress to date, indicating the crucial role played by the EU Saving Directive and the unwillingness of the United States to exchange information on interest paid to foreigners. Finally, the article describes the implications for developing and transition countries.