Monday, January 02, 2017

Panama Papers and Data – Total Tax Revenues 1980 to 2013

14 Amazing Thomas Sowell Quotes in Honor of His Last Column

DOJ issued a press release regarding the status of the Swiss Bank Program:  Justice Department Reaches Final Resolutions Under Swiss Bank Program: Information Received Continues to Drive Civil and Criminal Enforcement Efforts (12/29/16), Cryptic Stories Under Swiss Bank ...

Year End Review of A Top News Story on Panama Papers 

It is the time of year for media outlets to start recycling their choices of top news of the year.  Here is one from BBC on the Panama Papers disclosures.  Panama Papers: What happened next? (BBC 12/26/16), here.  This is a pretty good, if brief, article summarizing the global fall out from an interview with the two top journalists originally accessing the data and pulling together the consortium of journalists to analyze it.  The article focuses not just on hiding for tax purposes but for all sorts of nefarious -- aka illegal -- purposes.

Some excerpts:
Mr Obermaier said the Panama Papers had shown how the offshore world could be used to help aid terrorism... 

Over the break observation was made how old retiring Commissioners used to stage Thank You Tour around different sites the trend is now for A different ***** tour in the P S ...

If you believe, as The Economist does, in open economies and open societies, where the free exchange of goods, capital, people and ideas is encouraged and where universal freedoms are protected from state abuse by the rule of law, then this has been a year of setbacks. ... As globalisation has become a slur, nationalism, and even authoritarianism, have flourished. 

The Economist finds the root of the problem in "the loss of faith in progress. Liberals believe that change is welcome because, on the whole, it is for the better."

Finance Ministry chases Uber on tax evasion

A crackdown on welfare while the richest pay no tax? It's one promise the Liberals kept

David Herzig, The Amazing Section 1202 (Surly Subgroup). “Let me start with the big lead:  You can exclude from capital gains taxation the GREATER of $10,000,000 or 10 times the taxpayer’s aggregate adjusted basis.  Yep, if your basis was $40,000,000, then your excludible amount is $400,000,000!”

In a year when populist voters reshaped power and politics across Europe and the U.S., the world’s wealthiest people are ending 2016 with $237 billion more than they had at the start... 

U.S. billionaires -- including Buffett -- favored Trump’s rival Hillary Clinton. Still, they profited from his victory when they added $77 billion to their fortunes in the post-election rally fueled by expectations that regulations would ease and American industry would benefit. 

The New York real estate mogul is building a cabinet heavy on wealth and corporate connections, and light on government experience, a mix that hedge fund billionaire Ray Dalio said last week would unleash the "animal spirits" of capitalism and drive markets even higher

Australia: Ikea pays just $10.7m tax on nearly $1bn in sales 

HeintzNew York Times Wealth Matters:  Family Cemeteries Bind Generations, for Remembrance and Tax Reasons, by Paul Sullivan:

As much as their personal relationships, it is the family cemetery that binds the descendants — not merely to honor and remember their forebears but also for tax reasons. ... Family cemeteries, a relic of another age, continue to bind relatives in ways that today’s wealthy might wish for. ... Some cemeteries have also become the connective tissue for families of far more modest means.

Part of this results from rules of the Internal Revenue Service, which grants nonprofit status to these cemeteries under section 501(c)13 of the Internal Revenue Code. The rules require families to maintain a detailed list of all descendants eligible to be buried there. ...

Via Out World in Data – Taxation – by Esteban Ortiz-Ospina and Max Roser
“The way in which governments raise and spend revenue has a substantial impact on the economic and social development of nations. In this entry we analyze available data and empirical research on a prime source of government revenue: taxation. While taxation is not the only source of government revenue, it is by and large the most important source in nearly all countries. According to the most recent estimates from the International Centre for Tax and Development, total tax revenues account for more than 80% of total government revenue in about half of the countries in the world – and more than 50% in almost every country. We begin this entry by providing an overview of historical changes in taxation patterns, and then move on to an analysis of available data from the last couple of decades, discussing recent trends and patterns in taxation around the world. From a historical perspective, the growth of governments and the extent to which they are able to collect revenues from their citizens, is a striking economic feature of the last two centuries. The available long-run data shows that in the process of development, states have increased the levels of taxation, while at the same time changing the patterns of taxation, mainly by providing an increasing emphasis on broader tax bases. Taxation patterns around the world today reveal large cross-country differences, especially between developed and developing countries. In particular, developed countries today collect a much larger share of their national output in taxes than do developing countries; and they tend to rely more on income taxation to do so. Developing countries, in contrast, rely more heavily on trade taxes, as well as taxes on consumption. Moreover, the data shows that developed countries actually collect much higher tax revenue than developing countries despite comparable statutory taxation rates, even after controlling for underlying differences in economic activity. This suggests that cross-country heterogeneity in fiscal capacity is largely determined by differences in compliance and efficiency of tax collection mechanisms. Both of these factors seem to be affected by the strength of political institutions. In the last part of this entry we provide an overview of empirical evidence regarding the equity and efficiency implications of taxation. In particular, we show that taxation does have a powerful redistributive effect, but it is important to consider how taxation also affects behavior of individuals, by changing economic incentives. For example, recent studies have found that taxation may lead to efficiency losses by inducing migration of ‘super stars’. These potential efficiency losses highlight the importance of designing taxation systems that achieve redistributive objectives at the smallest possible cost…”