Tax Evasion and Tax Havens

A new reportby the British group Tax Justice Network concludes that there is at least $21 trillion — and possibly as much as $32 trillion — sitting in secret tax havens in offshore accounts, an amount roughly the size of the American and Japanese economies combined. The offshore tax havens result in an estimated $280 billion in lost income tax revenues. In 2010, the world’s top 50 private banks managed more than $12.1 trillion in cross-border funds, up from $5.4 trillion in 2005. The offshore wealth belongs to a group of 10 million people, according to the report, which is based on data from the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the United Nations and more.

For more on the subjects of Tax evasion — United States and Tax havens, see the Brooklyn Law School Library’s collection for its copy of Treasure Islands: Uncovering the Damage of Offshore Banking and Tax Havens by Nicholas Shaxson (Call #HV6344.U6 S53 2011). The publisher states that the book, written in league with the Tax Justice Network, “dives deep into the secret world of tax havens and takes us to hot spots from Switzerland to Panama to Delaware in a riveting narrative of how society loses through illegal tax evasion.” It shows how more than 12,750 foreign corporations get out of paying taxes each year by claiming to have offices in the same five-story building in the Cayman Islands and how one thousand children die every day as a result of illegal, trade related tax evasion.