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On le sait, les paradis fiscaux nous dépossèdent d'une large part des impôts qui DEVRAIENT NORMALEMENT être payés par les super-riches.
Cet article du Guardian nous permet de mieux comprendre l'ampleur du vol collectif contre les pays du monde entier. Les seuls gagnants sont, bien entendu, les paradis fiscaux.
N'oubliez pas de regarder la carte géographique qui montre d'où l'argent part et où il aboutit (dans les paradis fiscaux, bien entendu)...
Wealth doesn't trickle down – it just floods offshore, new research reveals
A far-reaching new study suggests a staggering $21tn in assets has been lost to global tax havens. If taxed, that could have been enough to put parts of Africa back on its feet – and even solve the euro crisis.
guardian.co.uk, Saturday 21 July 2012 21.00 BST
The world's super-rich have taken advantage of lax tax rules to siphon off at least $21 trillion, and possibly as much as $32tn, from their home countries and hide it abroad – a sum larger than the entire American economy.
James Henry, a former chief economist at consultancy McKinsey and an expert on tax havens, has conducted groundbreaking new research for the Tax Justice Network campaign group – sifting through data from the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and private sector analysts to construct an alarming picture that shows capital flooding out of countries across the world and disappearing into the cracks in the financial system.
Comedian Jimmy Carr became the public face of tax-dodging in the UK earlier this year when it emerged that he had made use of a Cayman Islands-based trust to slash his income tax bill.
But the kind of scheme Carr took part in is the tip of the iceberg, according to Henry's report, entitled The Price of Offshore Revisited. Despite the professed determination of the G20 group of leading economies to tackle tax secrecy, investors in scores of countries – including the US and the UK – are still able to hide some or all of their assets from the taxman.
"This offshore economy is large enough to have a major impact on estimates of inequality of wealth and income; on estimates of national income and debt ratios; and – most importantly – to have very significant negative impacts on the domestic tax bases of 'source' countries," Henry says.
Using the BIS's measure of "offshore deposits" – cash held outside the depositor's home country – and scaling it up according to the proportion of their portfolio large investors usually hold in cash, he estimates that between $21tn (£13tn) and $32tn (£20tn) in financial assets has been hidden from the world's tax authorities.
"These estimates reveal a staggering failure," says John Christensen of the Tax Justice Network. "Inequality is much, much worse than official statistics show, but politicians are still relying on trickle-down to transfer wealth to poorer people.
"This new data shows the exact opposite has happened: for three decades extraordinary wealth has been cascading into the offshore accounts of a tiny number of super-rich."
In total, 10 million individuals around the world hold assets offshore, according to Henry's analysis; but almost half of the minimum estimate of $21tn – $9.8tn – is owned by just 92,000 people. And that does not include the non-financial assets – art, yachts, mansions in Kensington – that many of the world's movers and shakers like to use as homes for their immense riches.
"If we could figure out how to tax all this offshore wealth without killing the proverbial golden goose, or at least entice its owners to reinvest it back home, this sector of the global underground is easily large enough to make a significant contribution to tax justice, investment and paying the costs of global problems like climate change," Henry says.
He corroborates his findings by using national accounts to assemble estimates of the cumulative capital flight from more than 130 low- to middle-income countries over almost 40 years, and the returns their wealthy owners are likely to have made from them.
In many cases, , the total worth of these assets far exceeds the value of the overseas debts of the countries they came from.
The struggles of the authorities in Egypt to recover the vast sums hidden abroad by Hosni Mubarak, his family and other cronies during his many years in power have provided a striking recent example of the fact that kleptocratic rulers can use their time to amass immense fortunes while many of their citizens are trapped in poverty.
The world's poorest countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, have fought long and hard in recent years to receive debt forgiveness from the international community; but this research suggests that in many cases, if they had been able to draw their richest citizens into the tax net, they could have avoided being dragged into indebtedness in the first place. Oil-rich Nigeria has seen more than $300bn spirited away since 1970, for example, while Ivory Coast has lost $141bn.
Assuming that super-rich investors earn a relatively modest 3% a year on their $21tn, taxing that vast wall of money at 30% would generate a very useful $189bn a year – more than rich economies spend on aid to the rest of the world.
The sheer scale of the hidden assets held by the super-rich also suggests that standard measures of inequality, which tend to rely on surveys of household income or wealth in individual countries, radically underestimate the true gap between rich and poor.
Milorad Kovacevic, chief statistician of the UN Development Programme's Human Development Report, says both the very wealthy and the very poor tend to be excluded from mainstream calculations of inequality.
"People that are in charge of measuring inequality based on survey data know that the both ends of the distribution are underrepresented – or, even better, misrepresented," he says.
"There is rarely a household from the top 1% earners that participates in the survey. On the other side, the poor people either don't have addresses to be selected into the sample, or when selected they misquote their earnings – usually biasing them upwards."
Inequality is widely seen as having increased sharply in many developed countries over the past decade or more – as described in a recent paper from the IMF (download the .pdf here), which showed marked increases in the so-called Gini coefficient, which economists use to measure how evenly income is shared across societies.
Globalisation has exposed low-skilled workers to competition from cheap economies such as China, while the surging profitability of the financial services industry – and the spread of the big bonus culture before the credit crunch – led to what economists have called a "racing away" at the top of the income scale.
However, Henry's research suggests that this acknowledged jump in inequality is a dramatic underestimate. Stewart Lansley, author of the recent book The Cost of Inequality, says: "There is absolutely no doubt at all that the statistics on income and wealth at the top understate the problem."
The surveys that are used to compile the Gini coefficient "simply don't touch the super-rich," he says. "You don't pick up the multimillionaires and billionaires, and even if you do, you can't pick it up properly."
In fact, some experts believe the amount of assets being held offshore is so large that accounting for it fully would radically alter the balance of financial power between countries. The French economist Thomas Piketty, an expert on inequality who helps compile the World Top Incomes Database, says research by his colleagues has shown that "the wealth held in tax havens is probably sufficiently substantial to turn Europe into a very large net creditor with respect to the rest of the world."
In other words, even a solution to the eurozone's seemingly endless sovereign debt crisis might be within reach – if only Europe's governments could get a grip on the wallets of their own wealthiest citizens.
C'est vraiment flippant de voir à quel point les super-riches se sont aménagés des paradis où leur argent n'est JAMAIS taxé — ce qui leur donne un avantage CONTRE nous tous qui payons des impôts.
C'est vers les comptes ILLÉGAUX et OFFSHORE que l'Agence du revenu du Québec ainsi que celle du Canada devraient orienter leurs "agents de vérification". Le fisc, en ce moment, continue d'embêter le pauvre monde pendant que les riches nous font un proverbial doigt d'honneur!
À chaque fois que le fisc s'attaque au pauvre monde pour des broutilles, les super-riches sont "morts de rire" et en redemandent. Les agent du fisc doivent cesser de cibler où ça ne donne rien... il faut aller où les centaines de milliards nous échappent!
Pour le Canada, seulement.
Cette "réponse" à l'article principal donne une bonne idée de la façon dont les banquiers de l'ombre s'enrichissent avec des fonds "cachés" dans les paradis fiscaux...
22 July 2012 11:46AM
A couple of years back I went for a job at [Large World Famous Private Bank*] in the centre of London. At both interviews, my prospective line managers at the bank regaled me with 'hilarious' stories of the excuses people wrote on their forms as to the source of their funds. One was about a Russian guy who, when asked where he had got his money from, just wrote 'I have been a very successful school teacher', and how the compliance people had asked him to re-write his form because that didn't quite justify depositing $10 million US dollars.
The staff at [LWFPB] had no compunction that this was highly corrupt; it was treated as big joke. It left a very nasty taste in my mouth, and thankfully I received a job offer from elsewhere, which allowed me to turn down the offer I received from [LWFPB].
The fact that such corruption was occurring so blatantly in the middle of London shocked me. I know now that I was being naive, that a huge chunk of the private banking industry is based on doing the bare minimum to meet FSA rules, that it knowingly helps invest funds from sources that are linked to drug running, foreign dictators and tax dodgers. That it uses Jersey as a middleman between the City and places like Panama, to provide just enough cover that the funds are legit. That it considers the fines it receives is just a 'cost of business'. Until we start jailing the lawyers and accountants that help facilitate such behaviour, it will go on and on. Sadly the UK makes good business prostituting itself for such funds, so I wouldn't hold my breath.
C'est tellement clair que les banquiers de l'ombre se font du "fun" dans les paradis fiscaux!
Au diable la cohérence, la transparence et l'intégrité.
C'est la supercherie qui triomphe sur tout, dans les paradis fiscaux...
NOTE: Pour ceux qui veulent en savoir plus sur les paradis fiscaux, ce blogue anglais vous permettra d'y voir plus clair!
Encore d'excellents commentaires auxquels il importe de réfléchir...
22 July 2012 12:37AM
It's a fucking Ponzi scheme that the majority are subsidising - The banks are Mafia cartels surrounded by a wall of silence and corruption at the highest level.
22 July 2012 12:58AM
As long as we allow banks to hold a licence to create money as debt, there will be no solution to this or any of the other corrupt activities of banks.
Take away their power to do something and they will buy it back with the stroke of a pen.
Banks are masters of our universe - but ONLY because we allow them to create 97% of our money supply when they extend loans.
Until we restore the utility of money to a public accountable body in the national interest the bankers (in collusion with the political power they can buy so easily) will do as they please.
22 July 2012 1:16AM
It is possible to severely restrict the flow of funds abroad. A lot of it is already illegal in some respect, but not sufficiently monitored. Money laundering, today's buzz word is illegal, but it's quite clear that the big banks have been doing it for a long time.
The money from developing countries often leaves by illegal means, but nobody keeps track of it. Two old devices, over-invoicing by importers, and under-invoicing by exporters are commonly used. In the former, the man who has an import contract with a foreign car company gets hold of scarce hard currency by presenting the government with an invoice from said company. However, the actual price the cars is ten percent less, so when he pay the invoice to the foreign company, said company sends the extra ten percent in his account in Switzerland.
Exporters do the opposite.
Both of these activities are illegal in developing countries. However, because their governments don't have any access to foreign bank activities, there's nothing they can do about it.
Most developing countries generate enough capital to finance most of their development. They don't really need to borrow heavily from the likes of Goldman, Sachs. The problem is that the capital generated is in the hands of people who would rather send it to a Swiss bank account than re-invest it in their own country.
22 July 2012 6:15AM
If anybody has actually read any of my comments, which is not at all certain since I do not read all the other comments, they will have seen how I have been advocating the end of Tax Havens and fancy avoidance schemes for years.
I have been saying we are in a world war: the 1% against the 99%. It was in my report sent to Governments in 2009: A MORAL PATH TO RECOVERY.
I maintain that Wealth Management, offered by the big banks, is code word for tax evasion on a massive scale.
It has grown into a major industry of the rich for the rich, by the rich actually sponsored by Governments which have allowed the privileged elite to avoid paying taxes. And we wonder why our countries are in debt and the economies stagnating.
The banks have been exposed as virtually corrupt, fraudulent, criminal organisations and yet not one single banker has been brought to justice.
The 13trillion dollars hidden away as calculated by the Tax Justice Network simply must be recovered if Europe and America are to survive as democracies. The 99% just cannot support any more austerity measures, cut backs and increased taxes. That is the simple choice we face.
The 1% know they cannot hold out for ever but they seem too shortsighted to understand that if the majority sinks they will go down too.
22 July 2012 7:39AM
'HSBC's oversight'?? What oversight.
ALL banks do this, does not matter where the money comes from? Ethics or morality (as most of us recognise them) play absolutely no part in the workings of banks at this level, people and communities do not even register.
There is no political will to show "who is behind the money' in all banks, including the money that is washed through the city of London on a daily basis.
22 July 2012 8:56AM
Ultimately, this problem, which underpins every other problem, is something the world must sort out together because at its root is the fact that tax havens are countries (albeit in the most functional hollowed-out sense) and as such have 'sovereignity'.
They cannot be invaded in a physical sense (unless by a Gandhi-style peoples' army...) so they must be invaded in a moral sense. For instance, their citizens could be bribed! 'A million apiece to give up your notional 'nationhood' and we'll have the books thank you'.
Once the safety and legitimacy of tax havens are brought into question the tide of behaviour will begin to turn.
Already we are beginning to see that the rich will no longer have anywhere to hide and we must help them along the path by offering tea and sympathy (along with shame and re-education).
Countries must set up 'truth and reconciliation-style commissions that allow them to keep a fair proportion of their looted gains once taxes have been properly settled.
Oh, and Switzerland, something really needs to be done about Switzerland.
22 July 2012 9:47AM
If an entity is transferring funds to the Cayman islands or Jersey that is unlikely to be for anything other than tax avoidance purposes. There is little point other than tax avoidance for transferring money to those places.
1. Create a public register of tax avoiding states, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Jersey Cayman etc.
2. Create a presumption that all financial transfers to such states or entities within them are for tax avoidance.
3. Tax the total value of any such transfers at 35% and impose the responsibility on the bank of deducting that tax at source i.e. before the transfer takes place.
4. Create an appeals process for those who can demonstrate that there were legitimate non-tax-avoiding purposes to the transaction.
22 July 2012 9:51AM
Tax havens are literally the biggest scam in human history.
However global private banks can and often will evade regulation.
We need to set up state retail and investment banks as an alternative.
And the state needs to make it clear it will not guarantee any deposits in private banks that go bust.
State banks would attract clever young graduates who want a decent salary but do not see making money as the only important thing in life.
22 July 2012 9:53AM
This is only going to be solved if the developed nations currently allowing their wealthiest to put money in these tax havens stop them doing so. The old mantra of 'they will leave' shouldn't stand in the way.
So what if they do?
I mean they're not paying their tax anyway - so it wouldn't make any difference to the country if they went - I've always failed to see the logic in the scaremongering of 'oooh they'll leave'.
The ones that pay their tax won't be affected by such a move and the ones that don't can either pay or go - and if every developed nation does it at once they'll have to go live somewhere less developed - and less safe for the wealthy.
I was actually a bit shocked about the whole money laundering scandal (and financial scandals don't often shock me) because when I worked in finance that was one area where things were really tight. I worked in insurance though not banking but they were really strong on money laundering.
Comme vous pouvez le voir, il n'y a pas qu'au Québec où les "paysans" que nous sommes se font plumer!
Au Royaume-Uni aussi, la grogne se fait entendre!
Non aux paradis fiscaux!
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