Friday, April 22, 2016

Panama Papers: PM urged to act on tax havens

Let  me add my two bytes to the megabytes  that have already been written about Panama Papers ...

However, first thing first as the Bondi Iceberg swimmer and PM has a lovely anecdote about cricket in his recent speech as well as a thoughtful story about the Family and Work balance with the emphasis why it is critical to maintain that balance. In another context, the  PM  quotes one of my former heroes, Jack Ferguson, former Deputy of Premier under Niffty Wran. Allegedly Jack used to refer our current PM then as   “Young Malcolm” [It was around the year of Charter 77 (in 1976)] when Jack told him that “peace on the home front is worth 10% of the basic wage …” Jack used to call most of the staff at the NSW Parliamentary library as young except Dr Cope. I used to be young Joe ... while his mate John Ducker called everyone Buver just like Johno Johnson ...
Prologue: The PM also answers the public service’s burning questions ...

Conversation: Did You Cheat on Your Taxes? Here’s Why Your Days May be Numbered, by James Alm (Tulane) & Jay Soled (Rutgers):

The so-called Panama Papers span thousands of pages, revealing that many of the world’s elite have been hiding their money in offshore accounts in an attempt to shield their income from taxes.
Their release – the biggest data leak in history – depicts a world of rampant tax noncompliance. However, it also reveals just how vulnerable all electronic data in the 21st century are to discovery.
E.U. Rules Will Chill Reporting New York Times (Richard Smith). Editorial. Why really disturbing: a tax dodge is a trade secret: Guest blog: how the European Trade secrets Directive will silence tax whistleblowers Tax Justice Network

The Tax Justice Network has criticised a Senate report on corporate tax avoidance, saying it fails to recommend the most needed reforms, such as whistleblower protection for private-sector workers and disclosure of all subsidiaries in offshore tax havens.

Mossack Fonseca is the fourth-largest law firm in the world that specializes in setting up shell companies. The largest firm of that kind is OIL (previously known as Incorporations Ltd) based in Hong Kong. According to the Economist, OIL takes up 10 percent of all the shell companies' business market. All of its companies are located in the British Virgin Islands from where OIL sets up around 10,000 shell companies a year.

FACT #1. Mossack Fonseca not only set up fake companies ... but also created fake email accounts for their clients that cost these people as much as $10,000 a year.
Among names chosen for the accounts were Winnie the Pooh, Harry Potter and Daniel Radcliff (not the real actor). The Guardian cited an email correspondence between the company's lawyer and a client:
Harry Potter: Did you the receive funds?
Mossack Fonseca: Dear Harry, your £25,000 was received.
#PanamaPapers Revelations Deal Major Blow to West Tax Dodgers, Global Crime

Who: Firm was founded by Jurgen Mossack, who was born in Germany in 1948, and Ramon Fonseca, who was born in Panama in 1952
When: Established in 1977; became Mossack Fonseca in 1986, when the two men merged their law firms
What: A global company that provides comprehensive legal, trust and wealth management services. Incorporates and administers companies in offshore jurisdictions such as Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, the British Virgin Islands and Malta, as well as in the U.S. states of Nevada and Wyoming.
Where: Located in Panama
Global presence: Considered the fourth-largest provider of offshore services

It’s always educational to observe the behavior of wildlife in their natural habitat. For example, we learn that there’s nothing more vicious than a wild animal that’s cornered. I would add that there’s nothing more devious than a top political or corporate official caught in a scandalous hypocrisy The Panama Papers reveal scandalous hypocrisy: The leak’s reminded us that governments make it all too easy for the super-rich to hide their money 

Mossack Fonseca may be the world’s fourth largest offshore law firm, but it’s the tip of the iceberg.  It’s just one law firm, in one tax haven. Just think what the others are hiding.
Only the Guardian and selected inner circle journalists know who are the entities on the list of the top ten providers of tax avoidance and evasion services
Mossack Fonseca: inside the fourth largest firm that helps the super-rich hide their money

A guide to history's biggest data leak

Panama Papers: More Trouble For The West Than Russia Forbes. Official confirmation of what you probably knew already…

UK: Premature Self-Congratulatory Hype: Tax transparency progress hailed by Chancellor 

AUSTRALIA: PM urged to act on tax havens

 Australian Tax Office is close to striking a deal with the Federal Court to fast-track large corporate tax cases that have dragged on for years. Tax Commissioner Chris Jordan said the ATO had "hardened its approach" to corporate tax avoidance and was refusing to be "stooged and gamed" by companies that do not deal in good faith Corporate tax avoiders to be fast-tracked through courts, says ATO

On 2 October 2014 the Senate referred an inquiry into corporate tax avoidance to the Senate Economics References Committee for inquiry and report by the first sitting day in June 2015. Following a further extension granted on 22 February 2016, the committee is now due to report by 22 April 2016.
Senate Committee Corporate tax avoidance

A Senate inquiry has heard there may be more Australians involved the in the Panama leak

Good friend of John Hatton AO, Marian has made a rare observation when even Czech communist links are referenced...
WILKINSON, Ms Marian, Journalist, Four Corners, Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Committee met at 10:18:
The background to the project and its post-publication impact is what I can address today. On 4 April, over 100 news organisations around the world, including the ABC, released a series of reports on the offshore financial world under the banner line 'The Panama Papers'. The story was based on 11.5 million leaked records from a little-known Panamanian law firm, Mossack Fonseca, a firm that creates offshore shell companies on an industrial scale. Some 214,000 companies, trusts and foundations were created over the years. With 30 offices around the world—from Panama to the British Virgin Islands, Hong Kong to New Zealand, the Czech Republic to Brazil—Mossack Fonseca has a huge footprint in the offshore world.
Draft Transcript from Senate Committee on Corporate tax avoidance

The signature literary genre of the Stalinist era was the production novel: outsider at a factory solves a problem. Bohumil Hrabal was a master of the form... Speaking of Czech Konnektions and Krimes

The focus of the worldwide response to the Panama Papers revelations switches to Beijing on May 11 when 35 countries working jointly on the data will report back on their findings.
Australian officials had been expecting 28 countries to attend the emergency OECD meeting, called by Tax Commissioner Chris Jordan in Paris on April 13, to discuss how to respond to the leak of 11.5 million documents of Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca.
But Australian deputy commissioner Mark Konza, who chaired the Paris meeting of the OECD's Joint International Tax Shelter Information and Collaboration (JITSIC) network, found that senior officials from all 35 JITSIC member countries showed up.
Panama Papers: 35 countries agree on joint compliance action

Corporate_Tax_Avoidance All Public_Hearings

The ATO’s Michael Cranston said the list covered a wide range of offences, “from very serious – the bikie gangs, etc – all the way through to promoters of tax schemes”.
The Panama Papers revelations have intensified the political debate about tax avoidance.
Mr Jordan told the committee he was determined to use his full powers to crack down on companies which have dodged their tax obligations.
“We do have a strong kit bag to utilise,” he said.
“We are getting on with the job but it will take time. But I do want to assure the community we’ll leave no stone unturned, as we put the whole picture together.”
He also flagged the ATO was hoping to work with the Federal Court to fast-track “strategically important” cases of multinational tax avoidance. Panama leak could reveal more Australians

Bikies embroiled in Panama papers 

Taxman Chris Jordan makes his mark

Panama Papers: SCBA wants national task force: Pakistan

Townhall op-ed:  Dealing with the IRS Doesn’t Have to Be Hell, by Reps. Kevin McCarthy, Jason Smith, Rick Allen, Kristi Noem, David Rouzer & Glenn Grothman:
[H]ow do we plan to make the IRS more accountable? We have six bills we plan to pass next week.
The first will require the IRS to crack down on their employees who are delinquent on their own taxes. ...

 GOP Congressman: IRS Too Busy Spying On Americans To Do Its Job

Conor Clarke (Ph.D. Candidate, Yale Law School), What Are Tax Havens and Why Are They Bad, 94 Tex. L. Rev. ___ (2016) (reviewing Gabriel Zucman, The Hidden Wealth of Nations: The Scourge of Tax Havens (University of Chicago Press, 2015)): This essay reviews Gabriel Zucman's The Hidden Wealth of Nations: The Scourge of Tax Havens. Zucman's important new book brings clarity to a confusing subject -- but occasionally does so at the expense of nuance. My review has three goals.

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