The Pandora Papers will hopefully give a boost to the US Congress in passing a progressive tax plan to fund the Build Back Better program—and that includes money for IRS enforcement to ensure the wealthy pay their fair share.
This essay focuses on the murky financial realm known as offshore finance. It shows that offshore finance is not solely about capital moving beyond the reach of states, but involves the rampant unbundling and commercialisation of state sovereignty itself.
Municipalities should move quickly to enact high-end real estate transfer taxes, requirements for the disclosure of beneficial ownership, and regulations aimed at the disruptive impact absentee owner-investors are having on our cities.
Just as Congress begins debate on the Republicans’ “Tax Cut and Jobs Act,” new revelations have emerged about how wealthy elites around the world hide their wealth. The “Paradise Papers” — the result of a leak from the Bermuda-based law firm Appleby — shines additional light onto the shadowy world of hidden wealth and tax dodging.
New research suggests that the super-rich are hiding their money at alarming rates. A study by economists Annette Alstadsaeter, Niels Johannesen, and Gabriel Zucman reports that households with wealth over $40 million evade 25 to 30 percent of personal income and wealth taxes.
Revelations about the widespread use of shell companies and offshore banking by politicians and business figures has challenged the traditional model of investigative reporting. It could be the new way investigative reporting is done.
Exposing tax dodgers is a worthy endeavor, but the “limited hangout” of the Panama Papers may have less noble ends, dovetailing with the War on Cash and the imminent threat of massive bail-ins of depositor funds.
In his influential book Treasure Islands: Tax Havens and the Men who Stole The World Nicholas Shaxson tells us that if you thought the open face of global capitalism was bad enough, the murky and secret world of tax havens is even worse.