Monday, April 18, 2016

Panama Papers and Ramifications: Five myths about tax havens

Nicholas Shaxson, Five myths about tax havens (WAPO 4/15/17), here. I think the author uses the term myth to be falsehoods (or not truthoods).  The first myth is:
1. Tax havens protect vulnerable people against despotic governments, unjust laws and political turmoil.

The author addressed this myth:

One benefit of tax havens, to listen to economists such as Cato Institute senior fellow Daniel Mitchell, is that they help shield oppressed groups from greedy and corrupt regimes. The “financial privacy laws” that govern tax havens make them especially “attractive to people who live in nations plagued by incompetent and/or venal governments,” Mitchell argued in a 2008 Cato-produced video titled “The Moral Case for Tax Havens.” The most famous version of this myth was first peddled in 1966 by the Schweizerische Kreditanstalt (today’s Credit Suisse), suggesting that Swiss bank secrecy was set up to protect Jewish money from the Nazis. 
In reality, Switzerland’s famous banking secrecy law of 1934 was triggered by a French tax-evasion scandal involving several wealthy elites, and Swiss secrecy wound up protecting a ton of Nazi loot. Tax havens shield the money of rich people, not vulnerable ones. Indeed, the Panama Papers revealed offshore accounts associated with several dictators and members of oppressive regimes from around the globe, and few linked to ordinary citizens. When tax havens assist kleptocratic elites in hiding their cash with impunity, they don’t guard against corruption and despotism — they help perpetuate them. Tax havens provide an escape route from laws that is available only to a rich minority that can afford to use it, thus removing from the equation the constituency with the greatest power to push for reform.
Jack Townsend Articles on ICIJ's Panama Papers and Ramifications 17th

Jack Townsend Articles on ICIJ's Panama Papers and Ramifications 16th

A leading recruitment firm has advised some of Britain’s top construction companies to reclassify temporary staff on some of the UK’s largest building sites as “unsupervised” in an effort to avoid a clampdown on a tax loophole. A leaked presentation, obtained by the Unite union, shows how recruitment firm 1st Step Solutions advocated a “solution” to George Osborne’s crackdown 1st Step Solutions Recruiter advises firms  reclassify temporary construction staff to avoid tax rules 
tax rules

Mossack Fonseca

Edmond Tavernier, Swiss tax lawyer, reveals how a little learning is still a dangerous thing
UK ministers humiliated after Cayman and BVI leaders repeatedly ignore requests for meetings Independent
The UK’s position on sharing beneficial ownership data is totally hypocritical Tax Research UK
Trove of secret Swiss bank data released to European countries: now use it! Tax Justice Network
Inside Panama Papers: Multiple Clinton connections McClatchy
Spanish Industry Minister Soria Resigns Over Panama Leaks Bloomberg (Richard Smith)
E.U.’s Five Biggest Economies Join Tax Crackdown After Panama Papers New York Times
The UK’s position on sharing beneficial ownership data is totally hypocritical Tax Research
International blacklist of tax havens will be drawn up, George Osborne announces
HMRC launches new consultation into tax evasion laws for corporates, as Panama Papers scandal rumbles on 
HMRC Consultation Document - Tackling tax evasion: legislation and guidance for a corporate offence of failure to prevent the criminal facilitation of tax evasion 
Willpower needed to wipe out tax haven secrecy  
Corporate tax dodging costs US $111B a year: Study 
The Clinton's connection to the Panama Papers 
Tony Blair faces quiz on tax allegations over claims he used a secret trust 
IMF chief: regulators long 'alarmed' over Panama's handling of taxation 

Once A Tax Haven, Gibraltar Now Says It's Low-Tax 
Ed Miliband: Panama Papers show that wealth doesn't trickle down. It gets stashed   
Recruiter advises construction firms how to overcome tax loophole clampdown 
HSBC set to face US probe over Panama link and could lose American banking licence 
Bankers behaving badly in Panamanian scandal  (18 Apr 2016)

New York Times op-ed:  The Real Welfare Cheats, by Nicholas Kristof:
We often hear how damaging welfare dependency is, stifling initiative and corroding the human soul. So I worry about the way we coddle executives in their suites.
A study to be released Thursday says that for each dollar America’s 50 biggest companies paid in federal taxes between 2008 and 2014, they received $27 back in federal loans, loan guarantees and bailouts.
Goodness! What will that do to their character? Won’t that sap their initiative?
The study was compiled by Oxfam and it comes on top of a mountain of evidence from international agencies and economic journals underscoring the degree to which major companies have rigged the tax code. ... The Oxfam report says that each $1 the biggest companies spent on lobbying was associated with $130 in tax breaks and more than $4,000 in federal loans, loan guarantees and bailouts. ..