Monday, April 04, 2016

Big Data Can Solve Big Problems? Beyond Unaoil to Panaleaks

"Some cases may be referred to the Serious Financial Crime Taskforce," ATO deputy commissioner Michael Cranston told the Financial Review, confirming the Australian link with Mossack Fonseca. The data includes high wealth individuals "and we are already taking action on those cases", Mr Cranston said ...
Sergey Roldugin is a folkloric cellist for the St Petersburg orchestra, yet his name appears as the owner of offshore companies that have rights to loans worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

Panama: the making of a tax haven and rogue state 

The panama papers Paul Hogans revenge on Swiss advisor Strachans

Panama papers explainer what you need to know

Panama papers leak exposes how Vladimir Putin Xi Jinpings friends hide money

Putin et al: Unprecedented leak of offshore financial records exposes secrets

Giant leak of offshore financial records exposes crime, corruption

You can watch 'The Secrets of the Super Rich' on Four Corners on ABC TV at 8.30pm tonight.
Popular Corporate Service Limited - Australian links
The big names caught-up in n the-panaleak scandal

How Mossack Fonseca worked with Australian clients linked to tax investigations

Since Charter 1977, 40 years of offshore companies opening and closing.  The 2.6 terabyte trove of data at the core of this investigation contains nearly 40 years of records, and includes information about more than 210,000 companies in 21 offshore jurisdictions. Read more about the data and our methodology
 Graphs and Data on Panama

Information Technology and Innovation Foundation – Big Data Can Solve Big Problems, But Only if Computing Can Keep Up – Joshua New, March 24, 2016

Pew Fact Tank: “As automation looms and more and more jobs are being shaped to accommodate the tech-saturated “knowledge economy,” 63% of full- and part-time workers say they have taken steps in the past 12 months to upgrade their skills and knowledge. That is one of several key findings from a Pew Research Center survey conducted last fall to understand people’s motives for learning, both in professional and personal contexts. The Center then held a series of related focus groups in December, drawing insights from those in the Baltimore, Atlanta and St. Louis metro regions.” Actions Needed to Enhance Information Security and Privacy Controls, GAO-16-265: Published: Mar 23, 2016. Publicly Released: Mar 23, 2016: “The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) reported 316 security-related incidents, between October 2013 and March 2015, affecting—the web portal for the federal health insurance marketplace—and its supporting systems.
Federal News Radio – “The Office of Management and Budget and Office of Personnel Management are standing up a new agency to assume responsibility of the federal security clearance process. The National Background Investigations Bureau (NBIB) will have a specific, presidentially appointed director and member of the Performance Accountability Council, who will report to OPM. The new agency will absorb the Federal Investigative Services (FIS), the organization that currently conducts about 95 percent of federal background checks.”

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse – “As Congress continues to reduce its overall support of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the chances that the IRS will at some point recommend a taxpayer for criminal prosecution have significantly declined — from 13.3 per million population in FY 2013 to 9.2 per million in FY 2015. This level is the lowest seen during the Obama Administration. For details, see the report at: The report includes figures from TRAC’s free IRS criminal enforcement tool, now updated through fiscal year 2015. This tool provides a wide variety of ways to explore the agency’s criminal enforcement activities at the district as well as national level. Go to:

The thing about houses: they chose their owners, not the other way around. And this house had chosen them.”

Miranda Stewart (Australian National University) presents Transnational Tax Law: Fiction or Reality, Future or Now? at NYU today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Daniel Shaviro and Chris Sanchirico

Shuyi Oei (Tulane) presents The Tax Lives of Uber Drivers: Evidence from Internet Discussion Forums (with Diane Ring (Boston College)) at Georgetown today as part of its Tax Law and Public Finance Workshop Series hosted by John Brooks and Itai Grinberg

Lily Faulhaber (Georgetown) presents The Long Reach of European Union Law: Patent Boxes and the Limits of International Cooperation at Georgetown today as part of its Tax Law and Public Finance Workshop Series hosted by John Brooks and Itai Grinberg  

H. David Rosenbloom (James S. Eustice Visiting Professor of Practice and Taxation and Director, International Tax Program, NYU; Partner, Caplin & Drysdale, Washington, D.C.) delivers the Norman A. Sugarman Memorial Lecture on The BEPS Project of the OECD: Implications for a Rational United States at Case Western today

This groundbreaking technology will soon let us see exactly what is in our food Washington Post

Joshua Fershee has long had a bee in his bonnet about courts and commentators who incorrectly refer to LLCs as corporations. His latest blast on this topic spots five examples ranging from sit coms (yes, really) to judicial opinions. Although I can't help tweaking him a bit, he is correct that much shoddy thinking and erroneous rulings have been occasioned by failing to treat LLCs as the sui generis entities that they are.

IRS’s Top 10 Identity Theft Prosecutions: Criminal Investigation Continues Efforts to Halt Refund Fraud
IRS, 21/3/16. In fiscal year 2015, the IRS initiated 776 identity theft related investigations, which resulted in 774 sentencings through Criminal Investigation enforcement efforts. The courts continue to impose significant jail time with the average months to serve in FY 2015 at 38 months — the longest sentencing being over 27 years.

HM Revenue & Customs continues quest to develop digital presence by ditching IT contract that cost it £10bn 

Howard Gleckman, The Gulf Between the Presidential Candidate Tax Plans Is Historic (TaxVox). “Calling it a gap hardly does it justice. It is an ocean of difference.”

MIT Sloan Management review, Winter 2016.  Thanks to social media and an increasing flood of data, the capacity to generate causes and controversies almost instantly has become the new norm in today’s “super-transparent society.” Most business leaders have not yet come to grips with the new reality — and what it means for their organizations.
  Jack Townsend, TRAC Offerings on IRS and DOJ Criminal Tax Enforcement. “The data reported shows that referrals by the IRS to DOJ Tax peaked in the early 90s at 20 per million of population and are about 9 per million in fy 2015.”

On Sunday, the ABC revealed theDepartment of Finance had asked the AFP to investigate DHA, the Government agency which manages more than $10 billion worth of Defence Force housing.
The two major shareholders for DHA are the Finance Department and the Defence Department, but many inside the military are deeply suspicious the Finance Department wants to privatise the agency.

March 28, 2016 | By Andrew Crocker – The FBI has successfully accessed data on an iPhone that has been the subject of a legal battle between the Justice Department and Apple, according to a court filing. EFF is pleased that the Justice Department has retreated from its dangerous and unconstitutional attempt to force Apple to subvert the security of its iOS operating system. However, we are still calling on President Obama not to undermine security and encryption, and you can add your voice to the chorus. In addition, this new method of accessing the phone raises questions about the government’s apparent use of security vulnerabilities in iOS and whether it will inform Apple about these vulnerabilities. As a panel of experts hand-picked by the White House recognized, any decision to withhold a security vulnerability for intelligence or law enforcement purposes leaves ordinary users at risk from malicious third parties who also may use the vulnerability. Thanks to a lawsuit by EFF, the government has released its official policy for determining when to disclose security vulnerabilities, the Vulnerabilities Equities Process (VEP). If the FBI used a vulnerability to get into the iPhone in the San Bernardino case, the VEP must apply, meaning that there should be a very strong bias in favor of informing Apple of the vulnerability. That would allow Apple to fix the flaw and protect the security of all its users. We look forward to seeing more transparency on this issue as well.”