The global exchange of automatic information of banking account data is one of the major accomplishments in the battle against tax evasion. The OECD’s Common Reporting Standard now has over 60 participating jurisdictions that will start exchanging information in September 2017, which amounts to over 1800 bilateral exchanges. More jurisdictions will follow in 2018.
While this is a massive achievement, there are a few caveats in the exchange scheme. As rightfully raised by many NGO’s, reciprocity requirements leave many developing countries outside of the scheme (a country can opt not to receive information, but can’t not send information). There also is a big US-shaped hole in the CRS, because it has its own FATCA information exchange scheme in place.
The way the OECD is representing the data on bilateral exchanges is lacking. The table representation makes it nigh impossible to asses on a large scale 1) which countries don’t participate, 2) which of the participating countries exchanges with whom and 3) if the relationships are mutual, outgoing or incoming.
I scraped the OECD’s website data and made two interactive visualizations that can help asses these questions. (best seen on pc, not optimized for mobile devices).
The first is a plot of the relationships on an interactive world map. This visual clearly shows which countries do not participate right now, and that the CRS is quite Europe-centered. You can click on any country node, and the visual will show with whom that particular country shares. On the right, it will show if relationships are mutual, outgoing or incoming. (Interestingly, if you click on any of the small islands that are usual tax haven suspects, you’ll find that they rarely share information with on another).
CRS relationships. Data scraped with R, Visualisation by Gephi. Map of Country and Geolayout algorithms used.
The second is an interactive heatmap grid, which shows in one glance which of the participating jurisdictions exchanges with whom (though unfortunately not the nature of the relationship). Jurisdictions are ordered by continent and you can zoom in on any place of the grid. (note that only a few European countries have a full row on the grid).
Together, these two visuals can give researchers a better picture of what is actually happening under the CRS-hood. The arrival of the 2018 jurisdictions will change the outlook of these plots, of course. I intend to rerun these scripts and post updates.
High resolution plots can be obtained upon request.
Comments are welcome!