Regularly, several international organizations evaluate the degree of fiscal transparency of various States in order to classify them in order to assess the convenience of investing in each State. These organizations include the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF), which is an international intergovernmental organization created in 1989 to promote a regulatory framework for the prevention of money laundering, as well as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). In addition, since last December 5th, 2017, the European Union also publishes its own list of non-collaborating countries at a fiscal level.
The lists of the States that, in the opinion of these organizations, do not meet the minimum transparency requirements changes periodically. At present, the most relevant are the following:
This organization determines which are the States called “Tax Havens”. However, after the last amendments carried out, the OECD considers that there is no longer any territory that can have this consideration. The small islands of Nauru and Niue (belonging to the continent of Oceania), which were the last to leave it, disappear from the list.
This organization has developed three lists, the gray, the black and the red, each implying a greater level of risk due to fiscal opacity of the States that form them. Thus, the States that constitute these lists are the following:
- Red List: this is the list considered to be the highest risk, and only the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) is included on it. Despite having implemented policies that contribute to fiscal transparency, the FATF’s main concern is its arms policy. Beyond carrying out enhanced surveillance of all transactions carried out with this country, the international body suggests its members to take countermeasures and effective financial sanctions in accordance with UN resolutions.
- Black List: in this list again we find a single State, Iran, which since 2016 has descended from the red list, since it demonstrated a political commitment and a strategic action plan to overcome the deficiencies that had been detected.
- Gray list: this is the largest list, and consists of the following States: Sri Lanka, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ethiopia, Iraq, Syria, Vanuatu and Yemen. The first three are recently added to this list, while the following were already part of it before. At present, no country in South America is part of this list.
This list, recently created, is the widest. The States that comprise it are the following: American Samoa, Bahrain, Barbados, the Island of Granada, Guam, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the Special Administrative Region of Macao, the Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Namibia, Palau, Panama, Saint Lucia, Samoa, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates.
However, despite the different classifications, it must be borne in mind that, at the level of the crime of money laundering, making payments or receiving payments from a company that has its headquarters in any of the above states implies a greater risk of commission of the same, since less fiscal transparency means less traceability of the flow of money. Mind you, we can not necessarily be sure that trade with companies from other States is a guarantee, since although there is greater transparency should be implemented also appropriate prevention measures to each context that may result enough.