All of the tax evasion cases brought against customers at Swiss banks would lead most analysts to believe that it is the world capital of hiding money. Numbered Swiss bank accounts are a legend based on the readiness of the financial system in Switzerland to keep the identities of its clients secret.
It turns out the Switzerland is not the best place to keep financial information and transactions under wraps; Delaware is.
The Tax Justice Network reviewed and ranked the secrecy of jurisdictions that it evaluated according to both their lack of transparency and their scale of cross-border financial activity. Its findings: “Ranked alongside 59 other secrecy jurisdictions, Delaware’s commitment to corporate secrecy, and resolute lack of cooperation and compliance with international norms, places it at head of the new Financial Secrecy Index.”
London, the Cayman Islands, Switzerland, and Luxembourg rounded out the top five.
The results of the study should not come as any surprise. Most large US firms and many smaller companies are incorporated in Delaware. It is well-known that its legal systems favor the rights of business. That includes the ability of firms to keep a portion of their business practices and financial statements private. Thousands of legal cases are brought against companies incorporated in Delaware every year. The Delaware Court of Chancery is highly regarded among corporate counsel for deciding disputes between corporations and their shareholders in the favor of the companies.
It is unlikely that American federal tax and corporate governance authorities will try to undermine or attack the ability of companies to use the Delaware statutes to keep their activities confidential. Perhaps that is because it is easier to attack the Swiss as a foreign sovereign country undermining the US IRS’s ability to collect money.
Delaware has been the corporate home of America’s companies for decades. Those companies will fight tooth and nail to keep the rights that the state’s courts give them
Douglas A. McIntyre