The super rich have been hiding as much as $32 trillion in secret tax havens in order to evade taxes

Share this content
7

James Henry, British economist and author of "The Price of Offshore Revisited", recently released years of research on the money held in tax havens beyond the reach of local tax authorities. Henry relied on investigating the data available in records of the Bank of International Settlements, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and national governments.

Mr Henry says that the super-rich move money around the globe through an "industrious bevy of professional enablers in private banking, legal, accounting and investment industries."  Mr. Henry refers to this business as "pirate banking", involving a network of lawyers, accountants, bankers et al who specialize in sheltering money from taxes by moving the money to secret tax havens around the globe.

Henry concludes that "The lost tax revenues implied by our estimates is huge. It is large enough to make a significant difference to the finances of many countries."

Welcome to the twenty-first century, where crime now transcends international boundaries.

For a transcript of the BBC interview of James Henry, please see The super rich have evaded taxes on as much as $32 trillion of assets hidden in secret tax havens

Replies

Please login or register to join the discussion.

Hmm, Briggsie, sounds like you are jumping to conclusions by calling people criminals. Many hedge funds are set up perfectly legally in places such as the Channel Islands, Caymans, etc. Even so the wealthiest 10% of the
US population pays 70% of the taxes, so the rich on average are paying their fair share. In fact, you could argue that the real deadbeats are the 47% of the population that doesn't pay anything. How about a minimum $100 income tax for everyone so we all have some skin in the game.

Seems to me that you are confusing income with assets. The income distribution is not as skewed as the ownership of investments (and many of the lower brackets own investments as well that don't show up because they are part of pension plans). But the emphasis ought to be on reducing the extraordinary spending that requires such high taxes in the first place. Why should the average Federal employee's compensation be double of an equivalent job in the private sector. They are supposed to be public servants, but are living like public aristocrats.

You are preaching to the choir on governmental employees compensation and benefits. And you are preaching to the choir on abuses of welfare to individuals, but I also add the abuses of welfare to corporations. But regarding the argument that the super rich pay too much in taxes, when I see Warren Buffett's tax rate at 11% and the average middle class at 35% (including employment taxes), I believe it is time to go after the super rich. And it is time for hedge fund managers--some of whom earn billions annually--to be subject to the 35% income tax rate plus social security and medicare taxes instead of that ridiculous earned interest tax rate of 15%.

Agree with you that carried interest is salary income and should be taxes as such, not capital gains, as no capital was put up. Doubt Buffet's rate is that low, as the minimum tax on dividends is 15% (which should be the bulk of his income) unless like most liberals, he is cheating on his taxes.

Mitt Romney's effective tax rate is 12.8%, so is he is a tax cheat, too? Buffett and Romney: billionaires; they aren't liberals.

Please specific which part of the tax code Romney is evading. Otherwise you are just engaging in libel by accusing him of crimes. Romney gave 15% of his income to charity (unlike the pennies VP Biden gives). So it is possible that Romney's charitable contributions, combined with income that is primarily capital gains, results in a perfectly legitimate low tax rate.

Buffet is a well-known liberal, as is Soros and most of the Wall Street bankers including Jaime Diamond, the CEO of JP Morgan Chase, Roger Altman the CEO of Evercore Partners, and Jon Corzine, the former Goldman Sachs CEO and alleged criminal who commingled funds and bankrupted MF Global. Why are there no charges being filed against Corzine where there are proven illegalities? (Answer: Obama protects his cronies, just like he protected proven tax cheat Geithner and made him Treasury Secretary)