UK authorities to unveil names of millionaire tax avoider
23 Jul, 2012 10:40
UK finance authorities are considering disclosing the names of super-rich individuals who use tax avoidance schemes, following a report that shows a hoard of more than $21 trillion is hidden from taxmen by the global elite.
Treasury Minister David Gauke proposed that accountants and promoters of tax avoidance schemes will be forced to disclose their client lists to HM Revenue & Customs. Moreover, if a promoter fails to comply with the rules, it will also have to provide extra information to HMRC on all of their schemes and their risks, according to Treasury paper published on Monday.The new measures are designed “to crack down on the promoters of aggressive, contrived tax avoidance schemes” as it would make it easier for the regulator to control the firms. “We are building on the work we have already done to make life difficult for those who artificially and aggressively reduce their tax bill,” Gauke said.The suggestion comes at the same time a report entitled The Price of Offshore Revisited and prepared by The Tax Justice Network revealed that between $21 and $32 trillion assets are stashed in offshore funds by wealthy tax avoiders. The capital flow from some developing countries since 1970 would be enough to pay off national debts, according to the research.The hidden trillions of dollars belong to around 92,000 individuals, an elite class of super-rich who make up 0.001% of the global population, according to tax expert James Henry.Russia has seen almost $800 billion leave its economy in hidden assets since the fall of the Soviet Union, while $300 billion drained from Saudi Arabia since the 1970s, and Nigeria saw a loss of $300 billion since the mid-1970s."Sadly, a very large proportion of this capital doesn’t come back into productive investment," John Christensen from Tax Justice Network told RT. "Much of it goes around chasing a speculative investment to the equity markets, to the security markets, to the commodity markets, sometimes to real estate markets in Europe and North America. A lot of this capital doesn’t actually get engaged in productive activity. It is chasing rental income, what economists call rent seeking activity." The document stressed the world’s leading private banks such as Credit Suisse and UBS help their clients to hide their fortunes into tax-free havens like Switzerland and the Cayman Islands.