From Michael West, an Australian tax journalist:
“In Australia, Part 4a of the Tax Act deems that the principal purpose of a transaction should be commercial (rather than tax driven). In light of the proliferation of tax haven activities by Australian companies this law, Part 4a, must be the most highly disregarded and disobeyed law in the nation, perhaps only topped by traffic offences.”
It’s an interesting story, not least because it has unearthed a hard-to-get number that we haven’t, from memory, seen before:
“The IPO documents for Intertrust estimate in 2014 the “total value of the global trust and corporate services market … was estimated at approximately €5.6 billion in revenue.”
Trust and corporate services can be legitimate but there is a large market for the sorts of (frequently nefarious) things offered by the likes of Mossack Fonseca, of Panama Papers fame. The $5.6 billion figure is vague as to what that number means, and which players it considers, but there it is, for what it’s worth. The only other statistic we’ve seen along these lines is from the Financial Times:
“Mr Fonseca described his company as a big player in a highly competitive niche industry but that his global market share was only 5 per cent.”
(Which of course raises the question of how large their revenues are.)
Now read on.