Thursday, January 20, 2011

U.S. emerges as Swedish tax haven

From UPI:
The United States is emerging as a haven for Swedish taxpayers seeking to avoid paying taxes on their earnings, Swedish tax authorities said. Swedish officials say they haven't received any information from U.S. officials since 2005, despite a treaty obligating tax authorities in both countries to exchange information, meaning Sweden hasn't been able to check information about income earned in the United States, Swedish news agency TT reported Wednesday.
This is something that has been known about for years, but few people, let alone tax authorities, have had the courage to stand up and say so. And of course it's not just Sweden - far from it. To be honest, it's the Latin American countries that are possibly - even probably - the greatest victims of this U.S. secrecy.

OECD countries are the world's most important tax havens, so it's hardly a surprise that the OECD has stood up in defence of financial secrecy, despite its appearance of acting against secrecy.

We are, well not exactly amused, but unsurprised, to see this comment from a clueless U.S. embassy spokesman in Stockholm.
"It's important to emphasize that, whatever is going on, it isn't something that's being done on purpose."
Er . . . we're sure you aren't encouraging it - but yes it is. There is a vast, vast lobby ensuring that the U.S. remains a secrecy haven for foreign assets. The world's top secrecy jurisdiction, in fact.

We are, at least, heartened to see that there are renewed efforts by courageous Americans underway to try and stem the dirty money inflows. But as we note, we won't be holding our breaths for real change just yet.


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