There doesn't seem to be a whole lot of interest in this "Money" segment of the site. Maybe everybody has so much of the stuff they can't be bothered talking about it!
I live in one of the "offshore" tax havens for the past 37 years, and for a few years in each of two others. So my "Barlow's Cayman" personal blog naturally includes a few posts on the topic. Last week I included a link to one of my older posts in a comment I submitted to Zero Hedge - an all-purpose forum mostly dealing with financial matters - in response to someone else's comment disrespecting offshore tax havens. My blog-post explained (very briefly) what it is that such tax havens do. To my amazement, the link prompted over a thousand ZH readers to click on the link - way, way more than my usual number of daily hits. So it occurred to me that it might interest some BellaOnline members too.
(BO rules don't allow me to give the link here, and I have no idea what a UBB code is! But if you Google "offshore tax havens - what they do", inside quotation marks, you will be led straight to the link. Alternatively, you can click on the link to my blog - below - and find that title in the Archives of January 2013.)
An offshore tax haven should be called offshore tax avoidance. These places allow corporations and individuals to avoid paying billions of dollars in taxes to governments. It is money that could be used to fund health care, education, and arts programs. It is not disrespectful to hold people and companies accountable for behaving irresponsibly, and in some instances, illegally.
Angela. Did you read my article, and notice this bit?
More millions of lives will be ended, and more trillions of dollars will be diverted away from the provision of health care, education and sorely needed infrastructure at home, into the bank accounts of the wanton destroyers of the quality of life in other countries. Most of the money will be channelled through Offshore tax-havens, yes, but always with the full knowledge and consent of the rulers of the high-tax nations and their tax-collectors.
Elsewhere in the article, I pointed out that the difference between "avoidance" and "evasion" (both technical terms used by tax-officers in various countries) is the difference between legal and illegal. I also point out that there is infinitely more tax-money spent by governments on invading and occupying other countries than in funding arts programs and the like. The real criminals in the context of tax-avoidance or -evasion are the legislators who support wars of aggression - 99% of the US Congress, for instance. It is they who should be held accountable for behaving irresponsibly - yet they are re-elected time after time after time!
There is a difference between what is legal and what is moral. Also, the bad behavior of elected officials is not a justification for the bad behavior of citizens. If someone enjoys the privileges of citizenship, say in the US or UK, that person also has the obligations that come with citizenship. This is to say nothing of corporations who enjoy all the legal protections that the US has to offer, but pay virtually no tax.
Well, I think we're splitting hairs a bit here, Angela. Of course citizens should abide by the obligations their nations impose on them - their legal obligations, that is, not their moral obligations. Those who don't obey their nations' laws end up in court, and so they should. If you can't do the time, don't do the crime, right? Corporations or individuals who don't get prosecuted for paying virtually no tax, must (by that argument) not be committing any crime. Critics must look to the laws, then; because we in the Western World generally live under the rule of law.
I myself believe that income-tax is immoral, so I have no qualms about living in a small country where there is no income-tax. Indeed, I have at times fought hard against proposed legislation to impose it. (And won, as it happens.)
As for the difference between what is legal and what is moral - one only has to look at the argument about abortion to see how individuals differ in their absolutely sincere beliefs as to whether something is moral or immoral. Whether it is legal or not is (I agree with you) not a question of morality, but simply of which party controls the most votes. Same thing with income-tax, although I have a personal problem approving of an involuntary income-tax, when there are so many voluntary taxes available.
It is much easier for the wealthy to not pay taxes than the poor. The existence of tax havens increases the gap between rich and poor. That is why I mention the distinction between legality and morality. (How interesting that a man would try to inject the topic of abortion into the discussion.) An excellent book on this subject is "Treasure Islands: Uncovering the Damage of Offshore Banking and Tax Havens" by Nicholas Shaxson, a former correspondent for the "Financial Times" and "The Economist".
How interesting that a woman interests herself in such an exotic and intellectually challenging topic as international tax-havens... As a longtime human-rights advocate and defender of vulnerable-women's rights on my Island, I have been involved in all kinds of topics, Angela. You'd be surprised.
I know all of the arguments for and against "offshore" havens, and income-tax - and abortions, even.
Every few years one or other of the mainstream media organs in Britain sends a young intern out to do an "investigative" once-in-a-lifetime report on Cayman's tax haven. This time it was the BBC. The documentary has some of us Cayman residents laughing, others highly indignant. The BBC boys are told to take plenty of photos of flashy cars, flashy self-promoters and flashy girls in bikinis lounging about on boats. No expense spared. At least some Bella members will have family or friends who have seen the program, so they might be interested to read a few of the local reactions at this link.https://cnsbusiness.com/2016/01/25/g.../#comment-1971
As a former Manager of the local Chamber of Commerce, I am most bothered by the lack of preparedness of our three highest officials - the British Governor and the chief Caymanian politician and the chief Caymanian tax-haven spokesman. All three made themselves look inept. Shame on them! I have blogged on the topic of "offshore" tax havens several times over the years...
It occurs to me that it might be useful to give a link to an old blog-post of mine titled "Offshore Tax Havens - what they do".
(BO rules don't allow me to give the link here, and I still have no idea what a UBB code is! But if you Google "offshore tax havens - what they do", inside quotation marks, you will be led straight to the link. Alternatively, you can click on the link to my blog - below - and find that title in the Archives of January 2013.)
The title is self-explanatory, and although it's three years since I posted the item - and although it's very brief - its content is still 100% valid. Cayman's preferences have changed to some extent; it's become more of a Hedge-fund shelter than it used to be. But basic things really don't change much, in this business.