Life’s full of surprises, some pleasant, some not so much. Imagine you had undeclared offshore assets when the global financial crisis struck, and you’ve nervously watched the world move towards TJN ‘s proposal for multilateral, automatic information exchange. Until now you’ve probably felt ok, and that you had a choice between two moves. Either you could say ‘Ok, the game’s up – I’ll use an amnesty or some kind of disclosure facility, and go straight’; or you could decide to keep hidden, using the new loopholes that are being actively promoted in Switzerland and elsewhere.
You probably weren’t worrying too much about the past though. Information exchange will relate to existing holdings, so you just need to get things lined up before it kicks in (from September 2017 or after). But as India’s Economic Times reports,
“The worst fear of those with secret offshore bank accounts and private trusts is coming true — some tax havens are ready to part with ‘old’ records and even details of trusts and foundations that no longer exist.”
We’ve regularly covered the battles of whistleblower Rudolf Elmer against the Swiss “justice” system. As we’ve said before, and as has so often been the case with those brave enough to risk all to challenge injustice and corruption, the bank was the criminal, not Rudolf Elmer. He wrote a guest blog for us here on how Switzerland corrupted its courts to nail him. We’d like to bring you up to date on his heroic struggles.
Tax havens cause enormous damage, not least because they block governments from fulfilling their human rights obligations. When rich people and powerful businesses evade paying taxes by using offshore tax havens they deprive states of the revenues they need to deliver on their commitments to provide education, health, justice and security. In this forthcoming book, Isle of Man-based lawyer Paul Beckett takes a human rights-based approach to the uses of tax havens and considers how the governments of tax havens actively connive with the process of breaching human rights.
2016 was the year when the world underwent profound political change. Most notably there were a series of political earthquakes in the US and Europe, with the election of Donald Trump and the decision of the UK to exit the European Union.
Going into 2017 these changes look likely to have a deep and lasting impact on tax policy and the distribution of wealth.