- ”We don’t pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes”
Leona Helmsley, property heiress
- When there is an income tax, the just man will pay more and the unjust less on the same amount of income
Plato, The Republic.
- ”Offshore tax havens have declared economic war on honest U.S. taxpayers”
Senators Carl Levin (D-Mich.,) Norm Coleman, (R-Minn.,) and Barack Obama, (D-Ill.), Feb
- I have worked with investors for 60 years and I have yet to see anyone — not even when capital gains rates were 39.9 percent in 1976-77 — shy away from a sensible investment because of the tax rate on the potential gain.
Warren Buffett, August 2011. Original here
- I never made an investment decision based on the tax code. . . If you are giving money away I will take it. If you want to give me inducements for something I am going to do anyway, I will take it. But good business people do not do things because of inducements, they do it because they can see that they are going to be able to earn [at least] the cost of capital out of their own intelligence and organization of resources.
Former Alcoa CEO Paul O’Neill at his confirmation hearing to be President George W. Bush’s first Secretary of the Treasury, January 17, 2001
- ”It is important now that the spotlight is put on the tax havens. In my opinion, that is one of the biggest problems the world
faces today.” Joly says the expansion of tax havens in recent years has also become a problem for the market. She calls dealing with
tax havens “Phase Two" in the corruption debate.
Eva Joly, the Norwegian-born investigating magistrate who broke open the “Elf Affair” in Paris, regarded as
Europe’s largest fraud investigation since the Second World War. Interview in the journal Development Today, March 2007.
- America with all of its greatness, its freedoms, and its potential, is, like democracy itself, the child of tax. . . Tax is not a pleasant subject and never will be. Neither are the responsibilities of child care, like calming bedtime fears about imagined monsters lurking in the shadows. Parents who perform these duties, showing their love by their actions, make for productive adults, while those who shirk the unpleasant realities of parenting often discover what a nightmare a child can grow up to become.
David Cay Johnston, Tax Analysts, July 2011 (also here.)
- Paying taxes is a pain, no doubt about it, but its less of a pain if everyone bears their fair share of the tax charge. Its intolerable, however, when not everyone pays their contribution: and the poor end up paying for the rich. Worse still when the rich choose every now and then to raise the level of taxes, but the poor are made to pay for them. What a scandalous confiscation! A powerful minority deciding what the unfortunate masses must pay! Can you tell me amongst which races such a scandalous situation prevails: not amongst the Francs, nor the Huns, and neither amongst the Goths or the Vandals. One thing that amazes me, in these conditions, is that all the poor and the native peoples haven’t simply switched sides to the Barbarians. But they certainly would if it was possible for them to take their homes and families.
Salvien of Marseille, a priest who had studied the underlying causes of the fall of the Roman empire and concluded that the general public had little incentive to struggle for the empire. 5th Century. Translated from the original French, Lucien Jerphagnon, "Les Divins Césars. Idéologie et pouvoir dans la Rome impériale", Ed. Tallandier, 2004, pp.481-82.
- ”Real rich people figure out how to dodge taxes.”
George W. Bush, 2004
- Tax havens are to those engaged in tax evasion what fences are to thieves.
Buiter, FT columnist and former chief economist of the EBRD, former
external member of the UK's Monetary Policy Committee, in his article Blockade the Tax Havens.
- Tax is where the environment was 10 years ago
Jeffrey Owens, director of the OECD's centre for tax policy and administration, FT, November 2004. Owens opined in this article that the emergence of NGOs (like TJN) intent on exposing large-scale tax avoiders could eventually achieve a change in attitude comparable to that achieved on environmental and social issues.
- It is not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expence, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion.
Adam Smith on progressive taxation
- An imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics.
Plutarch, ancient Greek historian
- Asking companies how they feel about the tax system can be a bit like asking people’s views on dentistry.
Financial Times Lex, November 27 2006
- Simply stated, the bright new financial system – for all its talented participants, for all its rich rewards – has failed the test of the market place.
Paul Volcker, April 8 2008
- Taxes, after all, are dues that we pay for the privileges of membership in an organized society
Franklin D. Roosevelt
- America's tax laws are similar to the writings of Karl Marx and the writings of Sigmund Freud in that many of the people who loudly
proclaim opinions about these documents have never read a word of them.
Jeffrey L. Yablon, Taxanalysts, 2006
- A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend upon the support of Paul
George Bernard Shaw
- ”Any survey of the main uses of offshore funds would have to conclude that low tax is not the main benefit at all; the real
attraction is their total confidentiality. This makes them perfect places to lodge capital in flight from tax, politics or the
Financial Times January 18/19 1997
- People think that taxation is a terribly mundane subject. But what makes it fascinating is that taxation, in reality, is life. If you know the position a person takes on taxes, you can tell their whole philosophy. The tax code, once you get to know it, embodies all the essence of life: greed, politics, power, goodness, charity. Everything's in there. That's why it's so hard to get a simplified tax code.
Sheldon Cohen, former IRS Commissioner
- ”It does not surprise anyone when I tell them that the most important tax haven in the world is an island. They are surprised,
however, when I tell them that the name of the island is Manhattan. Moreover, the second most-important tax haven in the world is located on
an island. It is a city called London in the United Kingdom."
Marshall Langer, a leading pro-tax haven analyst, Tax Notes International, 2001
- The vast majority of Americans pay their taxes without additional prodding by the IRS, out of a sense of fairness and civic duty. They
understand the importance of paying what they owe, and they know that when people fail to pay their taxes, it serves as a de facto tax
increase on everyone else.
Testimony of Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson,
Jr. before the Senate Finance Committee On Ways to Reduce the Tax Gap
- Each year, the (United) States allow persons to form nearly 2 million
corporations and limited liability companies in this country without
knowing – or even asking -- who the beneficial owners are behind those
corporations. . . . our law enforcement officials have too often had to
stand silent when asked by their counterparts in other countries for
information about who owns a U.S. corporation committing crimes in
their jurisdictions. The reality is that the United States is as bad as
any offshore jurisdiction when it comes to responding to those requests
– we can’t answer them because we don’t have the information.Senator Carl Levin, May 2008
- We have allowed the word avoidance to gain too much respectability. It is just a smarter form of evasion
Pravin Gordhan, South African Minister of Finance, Nov 9th 2009