In our December 2016 Taxcast: In trusts we trust? We look at the new game in town: beneficial ownership avoidance, the booming industry in alternative escape vehicles from public registers and why we must shine the spotlight on all of them.
Plus: we discuss two big stories we think will define 2017: the race to the bottom between nations on tax aka a transfer of wealth to the corporate community, and how the world’s biggest havens are increasingly having to account for the devastating effect their tax and/or financial secrecy policies are having on human rights around the world… We also report from the appeal of tax justice heroes Antoine Deltour and Rapahel Halet in Luxembourg.
The impacts on gender of tax and spending decisions made by governments although important are often little understood by decision makers. As the UK government sets out its autumn statement the Women’s Budget Group is seeking to promote understanding of this issue.
Switzerland—ranked number one in the Tax Justice Network’s Financial Secrecy Index —faced tough questions from a U.N. human rights body in Geneva this week over the toll that its tax and financial secrecy policies take on women’s rights across the globe. Prompted by a coalition of Swiss and international human rights and tax justice advocates, the UN Committee mandated to oversee compliance with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) grilled Switzerland on how it will ensure that its financial secrecy policies and corporate tax rules are consistent with its commitments to promote gender equality and sustainable development abroad.
The economists Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez, Facundo Alvaredo and Anthony Atkinson have played a big role in helping analyse and popularise the role that tax rate cuts for wealthy folk play in fostering economic inequality, particularly the income shares of the top 1 percent of people compared to everyone else. As they put it in 2013:
“The evolution of top tax rates is strongly negatively correlated with changes in pre-tax income concentration.”
Their findings have of course been attacked, not least by certain players keen for taxes on wealthy people to stay low.
Now there’s a new US-focused study by Douglas Campbell and Lester Lusher, called Drivers of Inequality: Trade Shocks versus Top Marginal Tax Rates. It seeks to check on these findings: