Manhattan real estate: a little tax haven in America

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Image: Javier Gil

From New York Magazine, a long article about the high-end New York property market, echoing recent stories (such as this one) about One Hyde Park and the British tax haven.

“Those with less reflexively hostile reactions to foreign buying competition might still wonder: Who are these people? An entire industry of brokers, lawyers, and tight-lipped advisers exists largely to keep anyone from discovering the answer. This is because, while New York real estate has significant drawbacks as an asset—it’s illiquid and costly to manage—it has a major selling point in its relative opacity. With a little creative corporate structuring, the ownership of a New York property can be made as untraceable as a numbered bank account. And that makes the city an island haven for those who want to stash cash in an increasingly monitored global financial system.

“With everything that is going on in Switzerland in terms of transparency, people are being forced to pay taxes on their capital that they used to hold there,” says Rodrigo Nino, the president of the Prodigy Network. “Real estate is a great alternative.”

It’s a very good article – not only because it quotes TJN’s Markus Meinzer. It contains plenty more on the tax and secrecy aspects: BVI companies, cash in suitcases, knowing winks from probable tax evaders, an effective 94 percent tax break for owners in New York’s swankiest address, an entity called Escape from New York LLC, and sales to every continent except Antarctica. There’s a 2013 study from the University of Utah whose authors conducted a survey by pretending to be genuine offshore clients: they not only found (as we well know) that the United States has been one of the world’s sleaziest ask-no-questions jurisdictions, but also that the suggestion of foreign corruption actually increased the likelihood that a provider would agree to do business.

Oh, and there’s this little British snippet:

“The owner of a $37 million unit, Novgorod LLC, was widely believed to be a Russian oligarch until it was revealed to represent the chief executive of the British bank Barclays. (He later resigned in a financial scandal, but the LLC still owns the apartment.)”

For more on how the United States became a secrecy jurisdiction, or tax haven, see the USA narrative report on our Financial Secrecy Index.


Related Posts

The Offshore Wrapper: the Panama Papers, one year on

Photos from the Protest outside PwC 1 Embankment Place, part of the Global week of action for tax justiceWelcome to the Offshore Wrapper – your weekly update from TJN.  Happy Paniversary! This week it’s been one year since the Panama Papers were leaked, and a number of organisations around the world have been marking the occasion though the global week of action for tax justice. In London, activists from the TJN and the […]

READ MORE →

Protesting PwC: Professionals Without Conscience

Photos from the Protest outside PwC 1 Embankment Place, part of the Global week of action for tax justiceThis week is the global week of action for tax justice and on Wednesday 5th April activists from the Tax Justice Network and Methodists for Tax Justice held a protest outside the London offices of Price Waterhouse Coopers. The global week of action for tax justice is happening one year after the release of the […]

READ MORE →

Germany moves forward on corporate transparency

ReichstagThe Bundesrat has today voted to recommend implementing a public register of the beneficial ownership of companies and trusts.  Great news from Germany, as the country takes an important step forward towards corporate transparency.

READ MORE →

New estimates reveal the extent of tax avoidance by multinationals

Price Waterhouse CoopersNew figures published today by the Tax Justice Network provide a country-level breakdown of the estimated tax losses to profit shifting by multinational companies. Applying a methodology developed by researchers at the International Monetary Fund to an improved dataset, the results indicate global losses of around $500 billion a year. The figures appear in a […]

READ MORE →

Banking Secrecy in China, its related territories and Taiwan

Hong Kong from Sky 100Foreword. The Tax Justice Network is a non partisan network of experts working towards transparency, so we do not take any position about countries’ territorial and political claims. However, we do expect countries with a de jure (legal) or de facto (in practice) influence over other territories, to take responsibility for their power. We point […]

READ MORE →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to Top