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Offshore tax dodge banking havens and schemes of the Canadian wealthy

alexd

Administrator
Staff member
The offshore tax haven account information dump was secured by the ICIJ a few weeks ago and there are supposed to be some Canadian names in it.

So far, the cbc, who apparently have some kind of exclusive access to the information leak for its Canadian component, has only released the name of the Senator's husband.

Senator's husband put $1.7M in offshore tax havens - Politics - CBC News

What gives? Lets hear some more names? Why are they waiting for the big tax dodger reveal? Lets get the juicy tidbits!

Other countries are running with this story in a huge way and releasing the names of their tax dodgers. Why is the cbc taking so long?
 

acheron

TRIBE Member
to be fair there's supposed to be something like 260 gigabytes of data to sift through... it could take some time...
 

coleridge

TRIBE Member
Apparently from the last time there was big dump of info like this (a few years ago) the CRA has done nothing to go after the people who own these accounts. Don't hold your breath that they're going to do anything about it this time.
 

graham

Well-Known TRIBEr
There isn't anything intrinsically wrong with having money in a bank account in a lower-tax jurisdiction, particularly if that money was earned outside of canada.
 
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Karim

TRIBE Member
"Residents of Canada have to pay tax on their worldwide income to Canada no matter where they earn it," says Georgina Tollstam, an accountant and Partner with KPMG.

SOURCE
 

Klubmasta Will

TRIBE Member
^ i would expect that most wealthy folks who earn significant cash in other countries would set up legal entities in those other countries and then earn their cash through those entities. the legal entity is not a resident of canada, so no income tax is payable by that entity to canada.

the money would only be taxable to the individual if the individual takes the funds from the legal entity either as salary or dividends, and there are many strategies that can be employed so that this is never done.
 

alexd

Administrator
Staff member
to be fair there's supposed to be something like 260 gigabytes of data to sift through... it could take some time...
The CBC could do better than releasing 1 name in two weeks though. Lets get more of them!
 

praktik

TRIBE Member
Allow me to posit the following:

Our national myth of living in a classless society has inured us to class division all around us. It has prevented the growing gap between the wealthy and the Rest of Us from rising to the point where people give a damn, because even though fewer and fewer of us do, more and more of us think one day - if our ship comes in - we'll be wealthy.

Latest stats show France doing better than America on social mobility. France knows about class divisions pretty well actually, and what happens when the tectonic plates of class are left to clash unfettered....


Discuss...
 
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alexd

Administrator
Staff member
I just found this on the CBC site... I guess we are going to have a really long wait. Hopefully some of the other news services who have this data will release Canadian names..

Why CBC isn't naming all 450 Canadians in offshore leak
By Jennifer McGuire, CBC News

CBC News has come into possession of an enormous amount of information about Canadians' participation in offshore banking and other financial institutions.

The Washington, D.C.-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists has received nearly 30 years' worth of data entries, emails and other confidential details from 10 offshore havens around the world, a cache of 2.5-million leaked digital files which identifies nearly 130,000 people worldwide with savings in hidden accounts. Media outlets in nearly 40 countries are involved in the consortium, and CBC is its exclusive Canadian partner.

Tax haven data leak reverberates around globe
The documentation provided to CBC News includes the names of some 450 Canadians who have set up these offshore accounts or holdings. We have already reported details concerning one such account-holder and expect to produce more such reports in the weeks and months to come.

At the same time, we are mindful of the reality that holding an offshore account is not evidence of wrongdoing and may not be controversial. So we are not simply reproducing the raw information we have received through the consortium. Our journalists are working through that information in a careful and methodical way to confirm the information received, identify appropriate stories, and complete them with appropriate context.

As this work proceeds, CBC News will broadcast and publish the stories that result.
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2013/04/04/offshore-tax-haven-names-editor-note.html
 

KickIT

TRIBE Member
Apparently from the last time there was big dump of info like this (a few years ago) the CRA has done nothing to go after the people who own these accounts. Don't hold your breath that they're going to do anything about it this time.
Funny that the Jim Flaherty says the CRA will pay 15% of recovered tax revenue to anyone who snitches on a tax evader. Too bad the CRA also got hit hard by budget cuts last summer mostly hitting auditors in the areas of criminal investigations, special enforcement and voluntary disclosure programs.

Canada Revenue Agency taking biggest hit in latest set of public service job cuts | News | National Post
 

alexd

Administrator
Staff member
Ottawa threatens to use courts to force CBC to hand over tax haven list
HALIFAX — The Canadian Press

Ottawa will use the courts to try and get the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. to hand over leaked data naming people who have allegedly used offshore tax havens, National Revenue Minister Gail Shea said Tuesday.

Shea said she has asked the CBC for the information but it has refused, so now the department will pursue legal means in a bid to get the list.

“We will pursue any legal options that we do have to obtain the list and we are working with the United States and our other international partners to do so,” she said in an interview.

Shea said tax evasion is illegal and the media has an obligation to provide the department with any information about suspected illegal activity, which she said the CBC’s stories suggest is a possibility.

Asked what specific laws apply, Shea said that will be left to the department’s legal experts.

The CBC is the sole Canadian member of the Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, which has refused to give Ottawa a list that it says includes 450 Canadians.

CBC spokesman Chuck Thompson said the public broadcaster cannot divulge its sources or the data, and it will defend itself in court if necessary.

“Like the other members of the ICIJ, our responsibility is to tell the story,” he said in an interview.

“As a journalistic organization and as a matter of journalistic principle, CBC doesn’t reveal sources nor any related background information.”

Detailed financial information of several thousand individuals from around the world was leaked to the consortium, which shared it with other media outlets.

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has promised to crack down on tax cheats. His recent budget included a program to stop international tax evasion by offering financial rewards for tips to the Canada Revenue Agency if an investigation bears fruit.

Flaherty said the goal is to bring in hundreds of millions of new tax dollars.

Canadians are already required by law to report any offshore holdings worth more than $100,000 to the Canada Revenue Agency.
 
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Bernnie Federko

TRIBE Member
This is what happens when the baby boomers decided to run deficits instead of pay for their lifestyle. Too many tax hikes were kicked down the road, now the Govt needs all the revenue it can muster.

PS Anyone who knows about FATCA down south and didn't see this coming should have their head examined.
 

praktik

TRIBE Member
They were a disappointing generation for sure. And they also didn't free the weed like they said they would.

Fucking disappointment.
 

alexd

Administrator
Staff member
And then there's this... While I don't agree with this dude's idea that the CBC is trying to further some left wing union agenda by withholding the names of people in this offshore bank account information dump, I think that they are probably doing it to milk the story for all it's worth in the context of marketing and self promotion, and the CBC was never very good at marketing and self promotion. Just release the names already FFS.

Terence Corcoran: CBC tax haven story feeds its left-wing ideology

As pictures of swaying palm trees on remote South Pacific locales rolled across our TV screens, the numbers, and the claims, escalated. Canadian tax losses were pegged at maybe $7-billion a year.

Since prosecuting fraud is not in the CBC mandate, the only explanation for holding on to the data stash is to milk the files for political and ideological purposes

Chances are there’s a needle or two somewhere in the haystack of 2.5 million tax-haven documents the CBC reported on last week. Unfortunately, after many days and nights of coverage filled with sensational claims and innuendo, the Great CBC Tax Scandal seemed to peter out, with nothing much to show for it. My bet is nothing much will ever come of this boondoggle of a story that, so far, looks like one big pile of semi-digested ideological hay.

Now the great tax-haven scoop has landed Canada’s public broadcaster in legal crosshairs. Revenue Minister Gail Shea said Tuesday the government will take the CBC to court to force it to produce all those juicy offshore banking documents the CBC claims “reveal widespread use of tax havens.”

The CBC obtained the documents as part of a staged global media event that included The Guardian, The Washington Post, Le Monde and others. The source of the tax-haven data dump is the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

The consortium shared some or all of an alleged 260-gigabyte stash of documents linked to accounts in the British Virgin Islands and other tax havens.

The accounts, it says, cover 30 years worth of activity by thousands of individuals in scores of countries, including 450 Canadians.

The CBC gave the impression it has been picking through the Canadian material for many months, flying staff down to the Cook Islands in the South Pacific. Its findings certainly appear thin. Over a week of breathless broadcast overkill, the only Canadian fingered was Saskatchewan class-action lawyer Tony Merchant. His wife is a Liberal senator.

But Mr. Merchant was an easy target. He already had tax troubles in Canada, so there was nothing all that surprising in finding his name on a list and the fact that he allegedly sent $1.7-million to a tax haven. Most of the CBC report on his case was based on his Canadian Tax Court experience rather than the “vast trophy of leaked documents” that the CBC claimed to be digging through.

Surely there has to be more to this mega-hype of a story. If so, the CBC has refused to reveal it. CBC news editor Jennifer McGuire, who recently fired the academic Tom Flanagan for offending the network’s fine ethical sensibilities, says the network has no plans to release any of the remaining names on the trophy list until the CBC’s investigative journalists comb through the hay in search of illegal tax-evasion stories. As Ms. McGuire rightly pointed out in a news release, opening up an offshore account is “not evidence of wrongdoing and may not be controversial.” Therefore, the CBC must be cautious.

This means, however, that the CBC has assumed the role of investigator into possible criminal tax evasion — a role that rightly belongs with Canadian tax officials. Has the CBC hired international tax specialists to identify criminal behaviour that it will then reveal using essentially stolen private information? If there is actual evidence of illegal tax evasion, holding it back would be like sitting on evidence of a bank robbery or fraud.

Revenue Minister Shea last week has called on the CBC and the journalist group to produce the list. “Give it to us so we can follow up on all the information.” The CBC appears to be resisting, leaving Ms. Shea and the government little choice but to use legal means to force the broadcaster to turn over the documents. In an interview with The Canadian Press Tuesday, Ms Shea laid down the law. “We will pursue any legal options that we do have to obtain the list and we are working with the United States and our other international partners to do so,” she said.

There’s only one reason for not releasing the documents.

Since identifying and prosecuting fraud is not in the CBC mandate, the only explanation for holding on to the data stash is to milk the files for political and ideological purposes — such as feeding the belief that tax dodging is a pandemic and that the Harper Conservatives are failing to tackle the offshore evaders.



That was certainly the CBC’s theme all last week. Liberal senator Percy Downe was corralled to blast the government for cutting Canada Revenue Agency staff. “If we’re losing billions of dollars,” he said, “the rest of us have to make up the shortfall. It’s grossly unfair and it has to be corrected.” The link between cuts to CRA staff and tax-evasion prosecutions was never really established.

Meanwhile, with no wealthy Canadians to draw and quarter as tax cheats, the CBC was left to fill its reports with regurgitated boilerplate from the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), an institution that appears to be in cahoots with a vast left-wing conspiracy encompassing church groups, trade unions and social activists.

Through the reports last week, the language of hype prevailed over substance. The tax haven activity “could be costing us billions,” said CBC news reports. As pictures of swaying palm trees on remote South Pacific locales rolled across our TV screens, the numbers, and the claims, escalated. Canadian tax losses were pegged at maybe $7-billion a year. Internationally, the world’s wealthy were said to have between $20-trillion and $30-trillion stashed away in secret bank accounts, presumably all of it illegally dodging taxes.

These numbers are mostly fiction, trumped up by “investigative journalists” citing numbers produced by others. The source for the Canadian figure was Canadians For Tax Fairness, an organization funded by Canada’s big union groups — CAW, CLC, CUPE, United Steelworkers — and which counts the usual Canadian leftist academics and analysts as advisors, including union economist Jim Stanford, author Linda McQuaig, lefty legalist Clayton Ruby and Armine Yalnizyan, senior economist at the Canadian Centre for Alternatives to Good Policy.

Dennis Howlett, executive director of Canadians For Tax Fairness, gave the impression he has seen the documents. He told reporters “there’s a level of detail here that we just haven’t had before.” Really? How would he know?

The union group says Canada loses $7-billion to $10-billion a year to tax evasion, a number tax experts say is wildly improbable, unless one were counting all the low-level tax evasion that takes place in Canada by people avoiding HST and other taxes — and if one added in all tax avoidance that is perfectly legal, even essential, to the Canadian economy.

Like the CBC, the source of the international tax-haven documents, the ICIJ, is also not releasing more information. “The ICIJ is not an arm of law enforcement and is not an agent of government,” said Gerard Ryle, a director. That leaves the group acting as vigilantes, hunting down their idea of criminals by illegally acquiring documents and names, followed by possible public humiliation of innocent people.

Even the international names revealed so far have been mostly duds. Here’s one news flash from the Philippines: The daughter of the late Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos may be receiving money from an offshore trust. What a shocker. And this: Sons of former Colombian president Alvaro Uribe maintain an offshore account.

The ICIJ keeps its documents secret, but sure likes to talk about big numbers. “A study by James S. Henry, former chief economist at McKinsey & Company, estimates that wealthy individuals have $21-trillion to $32-trillion in private financial wealth tucked away in offshore havens — roughly equivalent to the size of the U.S. and Japanese economies combined.” The CBC used these numbers too.

Mr. Henry may be a former McKinsey staffer, but his report — The Price of Offshore Revisited — is a conceptual shambles produced for the Tax Justice Network, an international activist group supported by the union-backed Canadians for Fair Taxation and social activists around the world. Aside from being a methodological flapdoodle, the Henry report is filled with leftist banter. “There’s no interest group more rich and powerful than the rich and powerful,” quips Mr. Henry. Unreported anonymous wealth, he says, is “either retained abroad or spent on shopping trips in Paris, London or Miami.”

If the Canadian and international numbers are shaky, the objective is not. Canadians For Tax Fairness opposes corporate tax cuts and seeks to abolish the use of all offshore tax havens no matter what their purpose. The international Tax Justice Network says its crusade is not against illegal tax evasion but all tax planning and tax avoidance — and all tax havens. “Tax havens cause poverty,” says the group. “We promote tax compliance and we oppose tax evasion, tax avoidance, and all the mechanisms that enable owners and controllers of wealth to escape their responsibilities to the societies on which they and their wealth depend.”

In participating in this tax haven exercise, the CBC is acting as handmaiden to this ideological crusade against all tax havens, a crusade championed by the left and Canada’s big unions — organizations who depend entirely on tax-free union dues for their existence and whose investment incomes and fat government-backed pension plans are accumulated tax free: on-shore tax havens, as it were.

Tax freedom for them, but no tax breaks for anybody else.

National Post:
CBC tax haven story feeds its left-wing ideology | FP Comment | Financial Post
 
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Ms. Fit

TRIBE Member
Allow me to posit the following:

Our national myth of living in a classless society has inured us to class division all around us. It has prevented the growing gap between the wealthy and the Rest of Us from rising to the point where people give a damn, because even though fewer and fewer of us do, more and more of us think one day - if our ship comes in - we'll be wealthy.

Latest stats show France doing better than America on social mobility. France knows about class divisions pretty well actually, and what happens when the tectonic plates of class are left to clash unfettered....


Discuss...
Holy shit. If FRANCE is outperforming America in social mobility, then the U.S. (and Canada?) is fucked.
 

praktik

TRIBE Member
Ya the line on Bill Maher when the stat was discussed was "Woah! That's like America beating france on fine cheese and afternoon sex!"
 
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