Monday, April 8, 2013

More On Wealthy Tax Cheats

As noted in a previous post, many of our more prosperous citizens feel no obligation to the country that made their great wealth possible. Rather, they are quite happy to hide it in offshore financial institutions, which, while being ethically questionable, is not illegal. However, many of them are also committing crimes by not declaring profits that accrue to them in those faraway places, and tax evasion is most definitely illegal.

Today's Star readers weigh in on the issue in their usual insightful manner. I am taking the liberty of reproducing their letters below:

Rich can no longer hide millions; Crack down on tax havens, Editorial, April 5

Regarding the recent articles about tax havens and governments world-wide saying they will now put more effort into getting those public monies back from the super-affluent. Well, the world’s supposed democratic governments have been aware of these billions of dollars illegally absconded by the rich and powerful for a long time. It has only been through the efforts of private citizens (journalists, authors, the Tax Justice Network) that this information has become common knowledge. Why is it that, as the editorial states, “. . . until recently there has been little political will to crack down on the super-affluent”?

The U.S. Republican party, our own Conservative government and democratic governments world-wide have been crying their “austerity” mantra ad nauseam, claiming massive shortfalls in revenues as their reason for cannibalizing tax-funded social programs. Yet they cogently and deceitfully failed to mention or address the flagrant abuse (tax evasion) by the world’s 1 per cent in causing these monetary shortfalls. Collusion between our elected officials and the super-rich is common knowledge. So now the question is why do the super-affluent and their political lackeys seem so determined to undermine the finances, wealth, health and security of The People (99 per cent) in our democratic systems of society?

Al Dunn, Kingston

Any Canadian with money in tax havens should be treated like the holders of accounts in Cyprus banks — charge them 60 per cent when they are found out. Tax havens should be made impossible through international laws. They work to the detriment of society.

Tony ten Kortenaar, Toronto

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