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Why few Americans appear in the Panama Papers

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Nevertheless, the seeming absence of Americans from the Panama Papers has fed conspiracy theories, such as claims the leak of the files was orchestrated by the CIA to destabilize Russia and other countries.

Interested parties may verify with Snowden !

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Putin has already come to this conclusion.

Does he know something we don't, or is he a conspiracy theorist?

Presumably these 11.5 million files are electronic and they are using key-word searches.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Well I suspect Don Putin's minions will be working round the clock to return the favour, if indeed the leaks were orchestrated by the West. I'm still suspecting Russian's sick of their dictator amassing a mountain of funds and turning Russia into a corrupt mafia state.

This leak may be the tip of the iceberg, but then again we may never find out who's hiding what. I'm expecting the latter...

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Embarrassed politicians seems like a good thing. Perhaps it will teach other politicians that the rules apply to them as well.

As for Mr. Putin - he's been shown for years to be cheating the monetary system. Does bringing his actions to light destabilize Russia? If so, then 1 man has too much power. There is an interesting USA PBS Frontline documentary from 2015 about Putin - "Putin's Way" which goes into all the ways that Mr. Putin has used to grab power in Russia. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/putins-way/

Americans have a hard time opening bank accounts overseas due to relatively new rules. A few Americans who have lived their entire lives overseas have been trapped by this rule and required to denounce their citizenship (which also requires a $2K payment) just to keep banking and paying local taxes like they've always done.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Walls are closing in on the rat holes. That and a globally unified national corporate tax regime would do much to stabilize and bring light on what goes on with the big bucks.

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If we structured our tax system in a way where we had 100% transparency and tax avoidance/evaision was completely impossible, one of two things would happen. Either A.) the rich would decide to continue living in London or New York, give up the game and fully pay their taxes, or B.) the rich would physically relocate offshore to join their money in the Cayman Islands.

To me, scenario B seems more likely than scenario A. Alot of very mobile rich people will start packing their suitcases if they can't have their cake and eat it too. Realistically, that's alot of lost jobs, alot of lost consumption tax revenue etc. This is why there are no great easy options here.

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OCCRP the organisation behind the panama paper receives funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development or USAID and U.S. hedge fund billionaire George Soros. So they are not going to bite the hand that feeds them. and US have their own taxe haven like Delaware.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

B.) the rich would physically relocate offshore to join their money in the Cayman Islands.

Let 'em.

Not a lot of room for expansion or cheap labour on tap.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

M3M3M3

Nope since they won't have many places to spend the money they moved. Basically if they moved to the Caymans but still wanted to purchase real-estate in the US they would have to transfer money to an US bank then purchase the lot. The entrusted will require to pay all the taxes under US law.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Madverts

That's true but until we move to a one world government that can set global tax rates, there will always be a country with a lower tax rate where people can move.

I think we shouldn't squander this opportunity to radically rethink the entire tax system. The current system was devised decades ago and it might not be fit for purpose in the 21st century. To give an extreme example, imagine if we moved to a new system where the 'happiest' people had to pay the highest rate of tax. The government's financial incentives would then change from trying to create endless economic growth to creating as much 'happiness' as possible. That sounds like a nice improvement doesn't it?

But a more realistic plan might be to dramatically raise consumption and property taxes. These are taxes that people cannot escape from (unless they start building hidden mansions underground). The rich clearly want to live among us and we should definitely charge them for the privilege.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

The answer is easy when you realize who has the documents and who sponsored the investigation, namely the people who such as the Geogr Sors sponsored foundation etc and gradualy being leaked by the mainstream paid off bias media. No mistake there are many US greedy boys using their serve too.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

@Triring

Yes, you're probably right if they return to buy property in the US. But I'm talking about people who completely cut ties with their former country (renounce their citizenship in the case of the US) and never return.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

there are a few tax havens around the world that are very frightened of American clients, because they know that the U.S. can hit them

You realise that if it wasn't for the US, we would live in a truly bleak world where every government official and wealthy citizen would be corrupt as hell and be hiding everything offshore and there would be absolutely no one to stop or pressure them

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Spurred by the need to halt huge, blatant tax evasion by Americans using foreign banks, Washington in recent years has cracked down with lawsuits, arrests and tighter laws that have targeted both the banks offering safe haven and those hiding money in them.

The result, Shaxson said, is that now “there are a few tax havens around the world that are very frightened of American clients, because they know that the U.S. can hit them.”

That's what happens when tax evasion is taken seriously.

Other governments whose names are on the Panama Papers, take heed.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

US Tax rate is same for everybody living in USA. But State income tax differs. Rich to poor, they move to the state that has no income tax if you don't mind to pay US tax, you don't havr to go to Panama. That môght be reason you don't see American name on the Panama Paper.

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“Americans have so many tax havens to choose from,” said Nicholas Shaxson, author of “Treasure Islands: Tax Havens and the Men who Stole the World,”

"Swiss banks were hit in particular. UBS and Credit Suisse, respectively, had to pay fines of $780 million and $2.6 billion for having helped U.S. citizens hide money." - article

That Treasury is still formulating a rule that should address the 2011 book by Shaxson is quite a chuckle.

(There was that US Representative, GOP/Tea, Michele Bachmann, she was married to a Swiss fellow and had some claim on citizenship there. How much they used that connection was never made clear.)

Obviously, scuba trips to the Cayman solve all of life's problems.

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M3M3M3APR. 08, 2016 - 03:46PM JST To me, scenario B seems more likely than scenario A. Alot of very mobile rich people will start packing their suitcases if they can't have their cake and eat it too. Realistically, that's alot of lost jobs, alot of lost consumption tax revenue etc. This is why there are no great easy options here.

This assumes that the ability to protect one's money from taxation is more important to the wealthy than literally any other factor in deciding where they live... like quality of life, proximity to their sources of money, etc.

And while I hear anti-tax folks proclaiming their intention to take their money and run all the time, there's a reason we don't tend to see it actually happening.

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A group created to levy every business that has one million dollars to pay business tax but more than 80 % voted nay so any business operate free. US people do not have to go. Panama to hide income unlessincome is result of illegal activity.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"Why few Americans appear in the Panama Papers?"

Simply because this is not a US Government move but a plot by the US economic power (USAID & Soros among others) aimed to divert capitals to Us banks in protected states like Nevada, South Dakota, Wyoming and Delaware (AKA: the new Suwitzerland) . At the same time they spread mud on the face of political rivals around the world.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

@scope: Nevada is not protected by USA. Protected from Casinos that oppose any taxation.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

You have to remember that this was just ONE Panamanian Law Firm's documents. Just because there weren't a lot of Americans in the files merely means they used OTHER law firms to hid the money.

Based on what they found here (with Chinese and Russians using a Panamanian Law Firm), I think Americans most likely used a law firm on the OTHER side of the globe... the thinking probably being that the farther away it is physically, the less likely it will get traced back to you.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

USA don't need Panama based law firm. Are there US corporations that are profitable to cheat gov't?

Someone mentioned US protect Nevada, S Dakota Wyoming etc. Are they rich to hide their money? Of cause Nevada is not poor like others mentioned and it does not need to hide.

No state income tax, no business tax no reason to use any law firms somewhere in the world.

As long as business is not with gambling, no need to use Panama.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

US banks were fined over $200 billion the last couple years but nobody went to jail. The department of justice, led by Eric Holder, an Obama appointee said, "they're just too important to prosecute". You see, the US is the largest tax haven in the world. You just have to be in the right club.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

You see, the US is the largest tax haven in the world. You just have to be in the right club.

Exactly!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

In Nevada, if a person earn at least two billion dollars a year, they are called billionaire if not, just rich. I am sure they pay US income tax but nothing to State. Some receiive their income from other states but if they made they are Nevada residents, just like poor people, no state income tax. There are bunch of movie stars and sport stars live here. They probably are loaded but never treated as rich. Cheaper to move to Nevada than using Panama law forms.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

US banks were fined over $200 billion the last couple years but nobody went to jail. The department of justice, led by Eric Holder, an Obama appointee said, "they're just too important to prosecute". You see, the US is the largest tax haven in the world. You just have to be in the right club.

An Obama appointee approved by a Republican-controlled Senate with a vote of 75 - 21. Actually, what he said was,

"Some of these institutions have become too large. It has an inhibiting impact on our ability to bring resolutions that I think would be more appropriate."

If you're going to quote someone, you should use their words rather than making up your own. What he was talking about was that the largest financial institutions are so intertwined with the national and international financial markets, that shutting them down would cause more harm than good. He ALSO said,

"Responsibility remains so diffuse, and top executives so insulated, that any misconduct could again be considered more a symptom of the institution's culture than a result of the willful actions of any single individual."

Who do you prosecute? The Supreme Court told us that corporations are "people", but you can't jail a building. You have to identify someone who started things down the wrong path.

Regardless, I do agree with you (and the article) that there are plenty of tax loopholes in our tax system for the rich to take advantage of, and they're still there because Congress has given a lot of lip-service to the problem but has done zip point squat about fixing the problem. Not Obama, CONGRESS. How about less whining regarding something Obama can't fix on his own and more whining about the fat cats in Congress doing everything possible to get nothing accomplished?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

As complex as financial transactions can be, the following illustrates a simple trick. Alls you need is $10 million a year and run a hedge fund.

Easy stuff. Anyone with some grit and determination should be able to do in a few weekends. And then cheating on taxes is in the cards, or laws . . .

The most obscene of our onshore Panama-style capers, of course, is the “carried interest” loophole."

"Someone makes $10 million a year running a hedge fund or private equity fund, you’d think he’d pay 39.6% in income tax, right? Wrong. He pays nothing, so long as the salary is paid into the fund he’s running."

"And he can roll that up, year after year, like a massive, free 401(k). And when he cashes it out, eventually, he doesn’t pay 39.6% either. He pays 20% because it’s not “income”; it’s “capital gains.”

"You couldn’t make it up. It’s one of those laws they get away with because when you try explaining it to the average voter, they refuse to believe you."

"Why would anyone go to Panama when you’ve got this here in the USA? Why go out for hamburger when you can eat steak at home?"

source: America's Superrich Are Hiding Trillions Of Dollars In Plain Sight, Brett Arends - MarketWatch - Thursday, April 7, 2016

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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