Friday, January 13, 2017

Call for a United Nations Tax Body

Linda Sugin (Fordham), Invisible Taxpayers, 69 Tax L. Rev. 617 (2017):
The paradigm tax dispute involves a taxpayer on one side and the government on the other. In that traditional dyad, only the taxpayer matters, even though the interrelatedness of taxpayers across the fiscal system means that the outcome of any one dispute often affects the interests of many other taxpayers. Yet everyone else is invisible to the legal system, without enforceable rights in the administrative or judicial structure. This article focuses attention on such invisible taxpayers and what justice for them would require. It proposes a theory of tax injury that is determined by “legal shares” and argues that conventional standing doctrine can accommodate broader taxpayer access if courts acknowledge the financial interrelatedness of taxpayers. Invisibility deprives taxpayers of both economic fairness (a traditional tax policy norm) and democratic fairness (a norm requiring tax institutions to treat people with equal respect and concern). This article explains how the Supreme Court has turned tax expenditures into invisible laws. It evaluates tax expenditures as tax law, challenging the standard scholarly approach that assumes tax expenditures should be not only economically, but also legally, equivalent to direct spending programs.

ENGLISH: As Ecuador takes over the presidency of the G77 + China group of 134 developing nations, its Foreign Affairs Minister has said that the country plans to make finance for development and tax justice the core of its presidency. The South American nation has put these issues on the agenda at the UN General Assembly, in the G77 + China group and at the Non-Aligned Movement summit. The day before Ecuador takes over the G77 at an official ceremony in New York, Ecuador's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Guillaume Long, will discuss tax avoidance, tax havens, and development at a special event in Washington DC. The Minister will also discuss the next steps of establishing a United Nations global tax body.

In May 2016, Ecuador pledged to take a lead in the global struggle against tax havens. Ecuador holds a pioneering referendum on tax havens in February 2017 to bar public servants from holding office if they hide money or assets in tax havens.
Tax Avoidance, Illicit Financial Flows, and Global Development: A Call for a United Nations Tax Body  

Brewery boss in tax trial had £3m drug bust debt wiped out  

HMRC refund scams ID fraud

Finews Article on Swiss Bank Shenanigans (Including the Recently Publicized U.S. Tax Shenanigans) (1/9/17)

I picked up this offering:  Dormant Accounts: How a Theft Changed Swiss Banking ( 1/9/17), here.  The article is not very flattering of Swiss banks' attempts over the years to steal money from their customers, their relatives, and in the case of its tax shenanigans, through customer fees that were payments for raiding their respect home country fiscs.  Finews is a swiss media outlet.  There was a time when Swiss media outlets would not have offered such articles.  Before getting into some of the contents of the article I first present something on this particular news  outlet.

According to the "About" page on its web site:
Where Finance Meets is Switzerland’s leading news site for all professionals in the financial sector. delivers real-time news about the financial industry: breaking news, feature stories, industry developments, opinions plus the latest on people and trends. was founded by an independent team of journalists and writers with extensive experience covering global financial services from a Swiss perspective.
Of course, these are promo statements.  I don't know whether is Switzerland's leading news site for professionals in the financial sector.  On a quick Google search, I did not immediately spot a source that I felt reliable as to the credibility of finews.  I suppose that this could be so-called "fake news."  Nevertheless, I decided to post this article because it does provide, in summary fashion, an accurate review of some of the Swiss bank shenanigans with which I am familiar -- the Holocaust gambit and the raid on U.S. and other countries' fiscs by helping customers hide assets and income.  So, I turn to the article and, since I presume readers of this blog already know about the Holocaust gambit and the the raid on U.S. and other countries' fiscs by helping customers hide assets and income, I only cut and paste an excerpt about one I had not previously known -- one that preceded the Holocaust.
It is twenty years now that a night guard stole documents destined for the shredder at the predecessor of UBS in Zurich. The theft indirectly caused one of the biggest ever crisis for Swiss banking. And is exemplary for the woes of a once proud industry. 
Christoph Meili was doing his shift at Union Bank of Switzerland in the night to January 9, 1997, when he spotted documents ready for destruction. He (falsely) assumed they were proof for banking relations with victims of the Holocaust and removed the documents.  
The employee of Wache AG missed the fact that the documents dated back to the years of 1897 through 1927 and thus couldn’t possibly be proof for the dormant accounts. He gave the files to a Jewish organization, which in turn handed them over to the police. 
The theft of the documents prompted an escalation of the simmering conflict over the so-called dormant accounts at Swiss banks. It also proved to be the catalyzer for one of the crisis Swiss banking has ever seen, with a now infamous class-action lawsuit engineered by a group of New York-based lawyers. UBS and Credit Suisse settled the conflict at the end of the century with the payment of $1.25 billion. 
So, this is a good read, albeit quite summary.  I cannot speak to the accuracy of it, except as it relates to the Holocaust and the the raid on U.S. and other countries' fiscs by helping customers hide assets and income, which is basically right.

As an aside, long ago, I asked more than once somewhat tongue in cheek:  How do you tell a Swiss Banker from a Somali Pirate?  My set up answer was that the Swiss Banker was the one wearing a suit.  Subsequent events have even knocked down that answer, as the investigations into the Swiss banks and bankers' U.S. tax shenanigans brought to light Swiss bankers traveling in camouflage (e.g., Hawaiian shirts when coming into the U.S. to make the customs authorities think their story of vacationing in the U.S. credible, when in fact they were set on doing their part in the tax conspiracy).  I suppose they might even dress like Somali Pirates if necessary to get the business of Somali "Pirate King" (not like the Pirate King, here, in Gilbert & Sullivan's Pirates of Penzance).