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OFFSHORE AND THE PROBLEM OF REGULATION OF THEIR ACTIVITIES



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Offshore and the problem of regulation of their activities

Offshore banks are very popular among many businessmen and managers of large organizations and corporations worldwide. Privacy is one of the factors of a large demand for the operation. The downside of offshore banks is that they contribute to an increase in crime across the world and this has a negative impact on the economies of countries of which occur export of capital.

Offshore banks are those banks that are in the territory which is recognized as offshore areas. Offshore zone is a state which has a more favorable economic conditions of development compared with other countries. In these countries, a favorable political and social situation, the law established preferential terms of taxation and customs duties, simplified the procedure for conducting accounting and auditing for companies with foreign owners, as well as the simplified registration of non-residents.

The main feature of offshore banking is the ability to provide services to the citizens of any country except the one where the offshore bank registered. Services of offshore banks are very diverse. They include: placement of deposits, money transfers, currency exchange, protection and investment management, trust services, corporate governance and other operations. Demand for offshore operations is determined by the fact that they are often not available in the customer’s country of residence.

The owners of offshore banks are always foreign citizens and legal entities, and in some cases as an offshore bank can be a resident bank, which carries out the offshore operations.

Offshore banks generally operated under strict regulation of their activities, authority control are the central banks, the Commission for Financial Affairs, etc. These banks, according to international standards, must have a minimum amount of equity capital, as well as to submit financial reports to the supervisory authority at least 1 time per quarter.

Offshore banks began their rapid growth since the mid-1960s because of the growth of liquidity in the global financial markets [1]. The creation of non-national capital markets and the internationalization of banking activities contributed to the need for increased financial resources, as well as free access to them in any country.

Currently, offshore banks more than a thousand. According to the early 90-ies leading international offshore financial centers (MOFTS) were Switzerland, Singapore, Hong Kong, Bahamas, Cayman Islands and Panama. But later due to various factors, as well as constant movement of large financial flows balance of power in the offshore banking business changes, so for 10 years between major MOFTS changes occurred, namely actively developing MOFTS Cyprus, Malta, Malaysia, the British Virgin Islands and the Marianas Islands. And also began to appear new banking jurisdiction where the activities of offshore banks barely regulated. In such countries, offshore banks are used for criminal purposes. These include Nauru, Western Samoa, Cook Islands, Vanuatu and others.

Tax evasion is a common crime and offshore banks are attractive in many ways to implement it. With such problem faced by many countries, these include the United States, where 100 of the largest companies have 83 subsidiaries offshore structures in the UK offshore of 100 large companies involved 97, as well as Germany and France. Today, it established a mechanism to combat the problem throughout the world. It lies in an agreement between the countries on the exchange of tax information, in particular between the member countries of the OECD. This enables tax authorities to obtain the information they need about the shareholders of companies and the state of their bank accounts. At the moment it was signed over 700 agreements on the exchange of tax information. But the best results have been achieved those countries that, along with the tightening of measures developed the overall investment climate. So Europe has applied the amnesty, according to which persons to evade taxes using offshore accounts, paid less than the tax regime.

Another example of the fight against tax evasion is a US law «On disclosure of foreign accounts for tax purposes» (FATCA), which creates a legal framework for the international exchange of tax information: it can be attached to any country. So foreign banks and financial institutions will have to keep track of at account holders who are US citizens, and provides services to the US Internal Revenue account information. In case of failure the US regulator will hold a 30% tax on any income from sources of such banks in the United States.

In addition to obtaining the license required by law, most MOFTS to regulate offshore banks introduced auditor oversight by the various authorities of the local administration, and for registration of a bank requires banking experience at owners and managers of the prospective bank. All this has allowed to organize and improve the offshore banking business.

The Russian offshore zones appeared in the early 90s. The first such territories became Kalmykia and Ingushetia, then formed eco-economic zone «Altai». However, they proved to be unreliable since many entrepreneurs began simply to evade taxes. There was another reason for the failure in the establishment of offshore zones. So with the release in 1992 of the law «On the basis of the tax system in the Russian Federation», which allows the subject to set their own tax rates, many entrepreneurs were not able to withstand the tax burden. Only in the Altai region, for infrastructure development of the subject, it was created optimal conditions for the activities of entrepreneurs. Therefore offshore is often associated with the Altai Territory.

Russian entrepreneurs are active users of offshore operations, and Russia itself, according to the study data for 2012 Tax Justice Network, among other states has the second place, after China, in the level of outflow of private capital with a value of $ 798 billion. According to research by the American experts, the volume of illegal export of capital for 2013 — 2014 years from Russia increased to $ 880.96 billion, but the lead in this rating belongs also China, which for the period lost $ 1.08 trillion. The Russian Federation has taken the second place in the ranking, the third position is occupied by Mexico with $ 461.86 billion. According to a survey conducted by Gradient Alpha Investments Group, the main reason for the use of offshore companies among Russian companies is not tax optimization and protection of property. [3]

In comparison with Western companies, Russian output in addition to offshore income and assets also. Among the Russian companies spread creating offshore parent companies that own real Russian enterprises. All this is due to three reasons:

  1. The favorable conditions of taxation of transactions on the stock market;
  2. The imperfection of the legislation — does not take important concepts and laws related to financial transactions;
  3. The high index of corruption, as well as based on the data the Interior Ministry, a high proportion of cases raider against the property. So it is possible to avoid the risks of loss of production from the government or other employers.

Like other countries, Russia is also taking measures to combat tax evasion and capital flight. Since the Ministry of Finance set up blacklists, which includes countries such as Belize, British Virgin Islands, Dominica, the Marshall Islands, Panama, St. Vincent and others, who not  disclose information about owners of bank accounts in offshore banks. The Central Bank of the Russian Federation, to regulate the activities of Russian banks, has created the list of offshore zones, where they are divided into 3 categories, in descending order according to the respectability and credibility: the first category is «onshore» — the most respectable area, the second — the classic offshore, and the third most unfavorable jurisdiction.

The Bank of Russia also establishes, in order to restrict the export of capital from the country, the license procedure for opening accounts in banks outside of Russia. In the absence of the license transaction is not recognized as valid, and those who committed them, in accordance with the law shall bear administrative, criminal and other responsibility. In particular, the recovery of the national income received by all invalid transactions.

Russia is also part of the Financial Action Group against Money Laundering (FATF), which made recommendations to combat money laundering. As a result of which was drafted and adopted the draft law «On amendments to some legislative acts of the Russian Federation in terms of countering illegal financial transactions.» This bill expands access to tax workers to banking secrecy, introduces the concept of «beneficial owner», which requires banks to provide information on the ultimate owners of money. The requirement came into force on 1 July 2014. In addition Russia, after joining the WTO, has joined the OECD, which cooperate acts of developed countries in the fight against tax avoidance, seeking through signing bilateral agreements disclosure of companies operating in tax havens.

Thus, despite the fact that in Russia pursuing a policy of de-offshorization many aspects has not yet taken into account, or is insufficient. So it is necessary to solve the problems associated with the creation of favorable conditions for business development. This requires a policy of following the example of developed countries, where in addition to toughening penalties improve the tax regime for business, in order to preserve capital in the country, as well as for investors from other countries.

References

  1. Offshore banking, offshore operations.
  2. Offshore is taken under control. https://www.rususa.com/news/news.asp-nid-103768
  3. Offshore: the new rules of the game in Russia and in the world.
  4. Opening of accounts.
  5. Shadow Economy and Economic Crime. Offshore banks. https://newasp.omskreg.ru/bekryash/ch5p4.htm.
    OFFSHORE AND THE PROBLEM OF REGULATION OF THEIR ACTIVITIES
    This article reveals the essence of offshore banks, and raises the problem of their use for criminal purposes, and describes how to solve this problem abroad and in the Russian Federation.
    Written by: Borkova Elena, Dzhigora Julia, Ripa Daria
    Published by: БАСАРАНОВИЧ ЕКАТЕРИНА
    Date Published: 03/21/2017
    Edition: ЕВРАЗИЙСКИЙ СОЮЗ УЧЕНЫХ_30.05.2015_05(14)
    Available in: Ebook
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