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Trillions of dollars are now stashed in protected tax havens around the world, leaving societies’ bills to those at home. We’ll dig in.
If you’re rich and you don’t want to pay taxes, here’s a way to go. Drop that billion in a secret bank account abroad. It’s illegal, but there are plenty of people who will help you do it. And there are a lot of people who do it. My guest today, Gabriel Zucman, says there are now $7 trillion in personal wealth stashed in tax havens abroad. Seven trillion dollars. That is eight percent of the world’s private financial wealth, not counting yachts and jewels. And who pays the bills that those tax avoiders don’t? Well, you and me. This hour On Point, the shocking scale of global tax evasion today – on trillions.
-- Tom Ashbrook
Gabriel Zucman, assistant professor of economics at the University of California, Berkeley. Author of the new book, "The Hidden Wealth of Nations: The Scourge of Tax Havens." (@gabriel_zucman)
New York Times: The True Cost of Hidden Money — "Mr. Zucman estimates — conservatively, in his view — that $7.6 trillion — 8 percent of the world’s personal financial wealth — is stashed in tax havens. If all of this illegally hidden money were properly recorded and taxed, global tax revenues would grow by more than $200 billion a year, he believes. And these numbers do not include much larger corporate tax avoidance, which usually follows the letter but hardly the spirit of the law."
Reuters: Big U.S. firms hold $2.1 trillion overseas to avoid taxes — "The 500 largest American companies hold more than $2.1 trillion in accumulated profits offshore to avoid U.S. taxes and would collectively owe an estimated $620 billion in U.S. taxes if they repatriated the funds, according to a study released on Tuesday. The study, by two left-leaning non-profit groups, found that nearly three-quarters of the firms on the Fortune 500 list of biggest American companies by gross revenue operate tax haven subsidiaries in countries like Bermuda, Ireland, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.
Bloomberg Business: A Pig Story, Belize Banks and Questions About U.S. Tax Evaders -- "In a filing in Miami two weeks ago, a U.S. federal judge authorized the Internal Revenue Service to seek the names of Americans using accounts at two Belize banks. It’s the latest twist in a years-long U.S. campaign to root out Americans attempting to stash money beyond the IRS’s reach, an effort that has held banks responsible in some cases for enabling tax evasion."
This program aired on October 8, 2015.
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