Death And Taxes: Half True For Wealthy Few On Earth.

by Jerry Alatalo

aaa-8Alphabet The old saying goes that the only things we can be absolutely sure of are death and taxes. Every human being will die one day for certain, although some believe the soul goes on forever, but that’s a topic for another writing. So, at least from the generally held view of death where one stops breathing and all physical/bodily activity stops – yes, death is inescapable. But taxes are another thing altogether according to the men and women over at Tax Justice Network, and what their years of research have revealed is that, for some, taxes are not inescapable. What they’ve found to apply for some people around the Earth is that “the only (singular) thing we can be be sure of is death”.

It’s been some three or four years since the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) received, then released to the world, computer files on tens of thousands of account-holders using tax haven banks operating in the British Virgin Islands. High-level politicians in several countries became forced to resign, star athletes and famous Hollywood screen idols suffered major public relations scandals, and old money bazillionaires saw their cherished anonymity evaporate. The story went uber-viral and was widely reported in all corners of the planet, and many believed the decades-old, secret tax haven industry was facing a certain death, surely in a short elapsed period when those criminal banks were shuttered and stop all financial activity. You know, when they stopped breathing.

Tax havens are still very much alive and breathing.

Days after ICIJ’s bombshell leak, Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron and America’s President Barack Obama were giving a press conference after a scheduled meeting. The ICIJ leak had become such a massive global story that it was inevitable the story would come up, and right on camera in front of the world David Cameron spoke about how (paraphrasing) “we are going to eliminate tax evasion!… tax evasion is fundamentally unfair… totally unacceptable!… etc. – and so on…”  Old sayings like “death and taxes” hold much truth in them, but David Cameron’s feigned-outrage press statements four years ago relate directly to those old sayings: “talk the talk, but then walk the walk” and “don’t make promises you can’t (or know you won’t) keep”.

Since that bombshell leak four years ago, both developed and developing nations around the Earth have lost trillions of dollars in tax revenue due to the ongoing operations of the tax haven/evasion industry (and it is an industry, facilitated by the world’s most powerful accounting, legal, and banking companies), at the same time suffering the severe economic effects of the now world-recognized term austerity.

“The ability of multinational companies (MNC) to have subsidiaries in many different countries, including in tax havens, create the opportunity for MNCs to shift a lot of profit to those jurisdictions. As you know, whatever can be priced can also be mis-priced. So, as a result a lot of income that could normally be recognized in developing countries ends up being recognized in the tax havens, where the big MNCs have their subsidiaries.”

That statement describes only the tip of the iceberg with regard to the variety of complex, engineered financial products readily available for high-net-worth individuals and corporations wanting to escape “unavoidable, certain-for-all taxes”.

“It’s the sheer unfairness, that if you’re very rich, or if you’re a multinational corporation, you don’t have to pay tax automatically like the rest of us do. But it’s almost become a voluntary activity – you choose to pay. You don’t pay based on your income, based on the profits you make. And that just is felt to be deeply unfair.”

The City of London is the epicenter of the international tax haven industry, where financial engineering takes place resulting in sometimes perfectly legal, sometimes criminal, complex accounting schemes involving banks in British-controlled Cayman Islands, Jersey, British Virgin Islands, and other UK-enabled tax evasion jurisdictions.  The Queen’s head/image is on the stamps used by residents in these tax havens, so this corrupt financial industry receives the support of, and is encouraged, at the highest levels of the British government. Perhaps British Prime Minister David Cameron and Queen Elizabeth would conduct a joint public TV address to the people of England and the world, explaining just where the “honorable” process of eliminating “totally unacceptable, fundamentally unfair tax evasion” stands today.

People in nations around the Earth are anxiously anticipating such an address/progress report on tax haven elimination successes, and respectfully ask for more specificity than “we’re working on it”. U.S. Senator and candidate for President of the United States Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren have been outspoken on the issue of tax havens and tax evasion. The issue greatly affects Americans and people everywhere in the world, so all candidates for President must – either voluntarily or forced by taxpayers/voters – forthrightly share their opinions and potential solutions.

“The main hope of developing countries have to come out of the economic deprivation, the poverty, the lack of human rights, is to attract technology, attract investments, and to make decisions that are important for their economies. But, if in the process of doing so, developing countries have to give up their fiscal sovereignty, have to give tax concessions to MNCs to locate there, have to agree to coercive corporations and tax treaties, then it is not fair to the developing countries. And that’s why tax justice matters.”

“In the UK and Europe, especially, we’ve been facing years of austerity politics. We’ve seen our public services cut, and al because, as they repeatedly tell us, ‘there is no money’. But clearly, it’s just that companies are choosing not to pay tax, and governments are not doing enough to collect it.”

“The next big threat comes from tax wars. That is, the political pressure to compete on tax and regulation. The risk here is that of a global race to the bottom, which will destroy democracy.”

Join the global movement for tax justice at: www.taxjustice.net 

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(Thank you to Tax Justice Network at YouTube)

Britain: The World’s Tax Evasion Capitol.

by Jerry Alatalo

cropped-suits-333.jpgAlphabet Tax evasion whistleblower Herve Falcioni produced evidence to the French government in 2008 containing the names of thousands of moneyed people from HSBC computers. Of those names, around 6,800 were of residents of Britain. In the seven years since, only one of those thousands has faced prosecution by British tax authorities. That is because Britain is a world “leader” in facilitating tax evasion, accounting for around 50% of the approximate 70-80 tax haven jurisdictions globally.

So, while the United States and European countries maintain crippling sanctions against Iran, Russia, Venezuela and other geopolitically-independent nations, Britain and the other 35-40 tax havens around the planet go on with their merry, massive tax-evading ways. So, all the remaining 6,799 Brits on the list of tax evaders need to do is wait until the statute of limitations runs out, with help from British government officials who have sat on their hands.

HSBC is the world’s second largest bank, based in Britain, and currently experiencing one more in a long line of scandals associated with illegal actions that run the gamut of crimes possible for large banks to commit. The firm supplies training manuals to its staff on how to violate U.S. tax laws for its wealthy clients and get away with it. For a period of ten years HSBC laundered illicit money for a Mexican drug cartel in the range of a billion dollars. The drug cartel has murdered more people than ISIS.

Those who follow non-prosecution of white-collar criminals in the financial industry remember U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s statements to Congress where he made a connection between prosecuting and jailing criminal banking executives to the consequences of doing so. Putting white-collar criminals behind bars would “damage the economy”, according to Mr. Holder. Worth noting is that Mr. Holder’s successor, Loretta Lynch, was the prosecutor in charge of the HSBC Mexican drug-money laundering case, and that no HSBC official went to jail.

Returning to the global tax evasion industry, facilitated by the world’s largest accounting and legal firms for decades simultaneously “in secret” while every aware politician knew about it, researchers have shown that more tax evasion “whistleblowers” have become prosecuted than actual tax evaders themselves. In the world’s tax evasion capitol of Britain, Prime Minister David Cameron could easily move for transparency in the Cayman Islands, Bahamas, British Virgin Islands and the remaining crown tax haven jurisdictions, but after seven years since the first massive revelations of their existence hit the international press he has done zero but talk before the media about how wrong tax evasion is.

While low-level criminals languish in prisons, many for drug-related crimes which harmed only themselves, white-collar criminals who’ve inflicted massive harm to the people and economies of their nations and nations around the planet walk the streets as free men and women. Unless those white-collar, “pinstripe mafia” members become prosecuted and jailed for their clearly repetitive criminal actions, a sufficient deterrent effect will not become manifested, and nations around the Earth will continue to lose an estimated combined trillion dollars every year to tax evasion.

Perhaps British Prime Minister David Cameron can meet with Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles and the Rothschild clan to come up with real solutions that offer precisely that deterrent.

Just saying…

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For more information visit the Tax Justice Network’s website: www.taxjustice.net