The Tax Justice Network (TJN) has released its list of the 10 biggest tax havens in the world.

The 2015 Financial Secrecy Index, which claims to be the "biggest ever survey of global financial secrecy", assesses countries based on their promotion of banking secrecy.

Switzerland, which the TJN labels the grandfather of the world’s secretive tax havens, retains the top spot, while the US has jumped ahead of the likes of the Cayman Islands, Singapore and Luxembourg since the last survey in 2013.

Here's the top 10:

1. Switzerland

2. Hong Kong

3. USA

4. Singapore

5. Cayman

6. Luxembourg

7. Lebanon

8. Germany

9. Bahrain

10. UAE

While the UK does not make the top 10, the TJN picks it out as a special example of a country which "supports a network of secrecy jurisdictions around the world".

It notes:

Had we treated the UK and its dependent territories as a single unit it would easily top the 2015 index, above Switzerland. The UK has prodded its offshore satellites forwards in the area of automatic information exchange [where OECD countries share relevant information to tackle tax evasion], but has failed to force them to create public registries of beneficial ownership, despite having the power to do so.

In the all-important area of trusts, it has played a central role in blocking progress, in stark contrast to its more amenable stance on shell companies.

At the IMF summit in Lima, Peru, last month, chancellor George Osborne pledged, alongside finance ministers from the world's 20 biggest economies, to crack down on tax havens.

He said:

No one should be in any doubt that we will take new steps at future fiscal events to introduce these new international rules to our own domestic tax laws. These taxes must be paid.

It has been suggested that new rules could be implemented as early as the Autumn Statement, which takes place later this month.

HMRC figures show (see fig 1.1) that the estimated "tax gap" - the difference between what is due in tax and what was actually paid - over the past year was 6.4 per cent of the total due, or about £34bn.

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