Up to $280bn is lost in tax revenues as wealthy individuals park financial assets in offshore tax havens. Rich individuals and their families have as much as $32 trillion of hidden financial assets in offshore tax havens, representing a huge bundle of lost income tax revenues, according to research published on Sunday.
The study estimating the extent of global private financial wealth held in offshore accounts – excluding non-financial assets such as real estate, gold, yachts and racehorses – puts the sum at between $21 and $32 trillion. A new report has found that as much as $US21 trillion is being held in offshore tax havens around the world, the worlds top ten banks - including UBS – are apparently out front in this game.
“What’s shocking is that some of the world’s biggest banks are up to their eyeballs in helping their clients evade taxes and shift their wealth offshore.” John Christensen, the Tax Justice Network told al Jazeera ::::
The study, which was produced by campaign group the Tax Justice network, looked at the amount of money which has been moved to low-tax or tax-free jurisdictions. The report’s author, former McKinsey consultancy director James Henry, estimated that at least $US21 trillion has been moved beyond the reach of home country tax authorities, representing lost tax revenues worth up to $US280 billion.
Mr Henry said the figure, equivalent to the combined gross domestic product of the United States and Japan, was conservative, adding that up to $US32 trillion may have found its way into tax havens including the Cayman Islands and Switzerland.
“The assets are protected by a highly paid, industrious bevy of professional enablers in the private banking, legal, accounting and investment industries taking advantage of the increasingly borderless, frictionless global economy,” he said.
Mr Henry said his $21tn is actually a conservative figure and the true scale could be $32tn. A trillion is 1,000 billion. Mr Henry used data from the Bank of International Settlements, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and national governments. His study deals only with financial wealth deposited in bank and investment accounts, and not other assets such as property and yachts.
The report comes amid growing public and political concern about tax avoidance and evasion. Some authorities, including in Germany, have even paid for information on alleged tax evaders stolen from banks.
Tax expert and British government adviser John Whiting said he was doubtful of the figure. ”There clearly are some significant amounts hidden away, but if it really is that size what is being done with it all?” he said.
The report said that the G20 had made great strides in bringing some tax havens onshore since 2008 but had relaxed its efforts in summits.
source: al jazeera