Media reporting of a new EU savings tax directive has left many people wondering whether European tax havens could soon become obselete.
The July directive requires banks throughout Europe, including low and no tax areas such as Gibraltar, Monaco, Malta and Andorra, to disclose bank account owner information to their home country’s tax authority.
But Roger Munns, Managing Director of tax haven property specialists Tribune Properties, says that some of reporting has been less than accurate. ‘The purpose behind this directive is primarily aimed at those who hold illicit funds, such as drug dealers, who will need to look outside of European banking system to place large cash deposits. The main attraction of Monaco and Andorra is zero per cent income and inheritance taxes, and this remains intact and there are no plans whatsoever to change this’.
Monaco and Andorra have long been favoured destinations for well to do, but with new technology allowing businessmen and women to run their offices from anywhere in world, operating from low tax bases has seen added interest for Europe’s primary tax havens, doubling property prices in last ten years.
Both Monaco and Andorra are outside EU, and their signing of directive voluntarily is often overlooked in media’s analysis of any effects on two small countries long term popularity.
Property prices have risen steadily over last decade, often topping ten per cent a year, but this year has seen a slow down of that increase.