Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Yes taxes really do matter: Reputation Matters

Opinion | When Reputation Matters, Leaks Like the Pandora Papers Can Be Very Effective

Where are the US billionaires, the Wall Streeters, the Big Four tax firms Deloitte, EY, KPMG, PwC? Michael West explores the mystery of the Pandora Papers in this first of a two-part series.

In the wake of the stunning Pandora Papers data leak this week, the ABC enthused, “Even by the ICIJ’s standards, this is big. If the documents were printed out and stacked up they would be four times taller than Sydney’s Centrepoint Tower”.

Probably not. If we assume Pandora is like its predecessors Panama Papers and Paradise Papers – where less than 1% of the data was made public – that would represent a stack of documents 12.2 metres high, not 1220 metres, which would get you up to Yogurt World on Level 5 of the Centrepoint food court.

Pandora Papers: is the world’s biggest leak the world’s biggest cover-up?

US lawmakers call for crackdown on financial ‘enablers’ after Pandora Papers The proposed legislation, experts say, represents the most significant reform of anti-money laundering rules since 9/11.

US response to Pandora Papers leaves Australia exposed


A bipartisan bill tabled in the US Congress after the release of the Pandora Papers threatens to isolate Australia as one of the last holdouts refusing to implement anti-money laundering rules that cover lawyers, accountants and real estate agents.

Monday’s publication of the Pandora Papers, a massive leak of offshore secrets which exposes the undisclosed holdings of more than 330 politicians and 35 current and former heads of state, has sparked calls around the world for reforms to financial reporting and secrecy law

On Wednesday, Democrat Tom Malinowski and Republican John Curtis announced in Washington they would introduce a bill,dubbed the “enablers act”, into the House of Representatives.

“Disclosures within the Pandora Papers are the clearest demonstration yet of the historic threat posed by foreign corruption,” they said. “Billions of dollars of dirty money belonging to adversarial actors are flooding the United States.”

Labor Senator Deborah O’Neill, who in June sponsored a Senate inquiry into Australia’s money laundering laws by the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, said: “We simply can’t allow the situation to continue as it is. It’s a profoundly unethical stance.”

How America’s biggest law firm drives global wealth into tax havens Baker McKenzie has been a pioneer in corporate tax dodging

What’s the difference between tax avoidance and tax evasion? 

The difference used to matter. Evasion was illegal. It meant not paying tax that was due. Avoidance meant arranging your affairs so tax wasn’t due.

Australian media mogul Kerry Packer used the distinction as a complete defence when he told a parliamentary committeein 1991 he was

not evading tax in any way, shape or form. Of course, I am minimising my tax. Anybody in this country who does not minimise his tax wants his head read.

The Pandora Papers show the line between tax avoidance and tax evasion has become so blurred we need to act against both Alex Simpson, Macquarie University

Emmanuel Akoto, also known as “Kofi,” of Grand Prairie, Texas was convicted following a jury trial in October 2019.  According to court documents and evidence at trial, from 2011 through 2014, Akoto purchased from third parties more than 560 stolen identities and used some of those identities to file false tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). These returns listed fake income and tax withholdings and sought fraudulent refunds, which Akoto and his co-conspirators loaded onto pre-paid debit cards. At one point, Akoto tried to purchase via email identities from a United States Secret Service undercover agent. The wide-ranging conspiracy involved others in Texas, California, Georgia, and Ghana.

 Texas man gets 70 months prison for stolen identity refund fraud; bought ID’s on the dark web

Blue J Predicted With 95% Confidence That 7th Circuit Would Affirm Tax Court In Innocent Spouse Cases

 Steven Davis and Magnus Henrekson

"Let  us return to the recent studies by Prescott (2002, 2003), which consider the output, employment and welfare consequences of personal taxes in an equilibrium model with one production sector and a simple labor-leisure choice for the representative household. Our evidence supports the view that tax rate differences among rich countries are a major reason for large international differences in market work time. At the same time, however, our evidence strongly suggests that labor and consumption taxes operate with powerful effect on several margins: substitution between legal and underground activity, substitution between home and market production, the mix of market production activity, and the composition of market expenditures."

 Yes taxes really do matter (Mankiw)

Responding to questions by the Senate Select Committee on Australia as a Technology and Financial Centre, the Australian Tax Office (ATO) said it believes there is a great deal of misreporting about crypto trading in the country, driven largely by lack of understanding rather than deliberate non-compliance.

Australian Tax Office warns: taxpayers on the hook for crypto tax earnings

In this case, the applicant for the change of name, Mr Paul MacMahon (“Mr MacMahon”) had sought to change his name to “Paul Rawling Mann” and as part of his application he had disclosed two prior criminal convictions. 

3 The Registrar, as is her usual practice in such a situation, arranged a National Police Check. The National Police Certificate which issued as a result showed that in fact Mr MacMahon had committed more than 100 offences, had pleaded guilty in 2008 District Court proceedings to 35 counts of what the Court of Criminal Appeal (in MacMahon v R  [2011] NSWCCA 147) categorised as “identity fraud offences”, 39 counts of what the Court categorised as “ tax fraud  offences” and 35 summary offences relating to making false statements to the Australian Electoral Commission. The Court of Criminal Appeal upheld the sentence of imprisonment imposed by the District Court, being a head sentence of 6 years with a single non-parole period of 4 years

Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages v MacMahon [2021] NSWCATAP 303 (5 October 2021)

Employee Engagement as a Strategy for Community Engagement

Guest Postby Kathleen Riemenschneider For more than two decades I have managed and developed education and community engagement programs, but while earning my doctorate in...

Learning through Substack

Make Use Of What Is LinkedIn Learning? How to Get the Most Out of It: “There has been an upward trend in people working from home or studying remotely. This has resulted in a significant growth in online learning platforms and the courses they offer. Some enjoy brushing up their skills, while others prefer learning new technology. Online learning platforms cater to individuals from different professional backgrounds and interests. Coursera, Udemy, Khan Academy are well-known for offering diverse courses. For those who are still exploring their interests, YouTube has a lot of free content. But if you don’t mind investing in an online portal, LinkedIn Learning is a great tool. LinkedIn Learning offers suite of online courses featuring high-quality content while combining LinkedIn’s network. Here’s everything you need know…”

Bridging the gap? An analysis of genderpay gap reporting in six countries - ZDNet – “Australia has scored equal last with the UK in a new global gender pay gap study published by the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership at King’s Collect London. The report, Bridging the gap [PDF], ranked gender pay gap reporting systems across 11 indicators in Australia, France, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, and the UK. Those indicators included transparency levels around gender pay gap, mandated action plans, enforcement and penalties, whether there is sufficient government guidance and support, and is there accountability enforced through such reports and assessments. Based on that ranking system, both Australia and the UK scored four out of 11. Spain was the top-ranked nation, scoring eight-and-a-half out of 11, followed by France with a score of eight, South Africa with five-and-a-half, and then Sweden with a score of five. “All data are publicly available (except, crucially, organisation-level gender pay gaps) and can be found on the interactive Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) DataExplorer … despite this, the gender pay gap has changed little in 40 years,” the study said of Australia’s ranking. “Based on the insights of stakeholders interviewed for this research, the key strengths of the Australian regime are its comprehensiveness and transparency; the key weaknesses are the lack of mandated positive action and non-disclosure of organisation-level gender pay gaps.” The report also noted that while many Australian organisations have gender equality policies in place, evidence suggests that many policies are ineffective….”