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$21tn: hoard hidden from taxman by global elite

$21tn: hoard hidden from taxman by global elite
A global super-rich elite has exploited gaps in cross-border tax rules to hide an extraordinary £13 trillion ($21tn) of wealth offshore – as much as the American and Japanese GDPs put together – according to research commissioned by the campaign group Tax Justice Network. James Henry, former chief economist at consultancy McKinsey and an expert on tax havens, has compiled the most detailed estimates yet of the size of the offshore economy in a new report, The Price of Offshore Revisited, released exclusively to the Observer. He shows that at least £13tn – perhaps up to £20tn – has leaked out of scores of countries into secretive jurisdictions such as Switzerland and the Cayman Islands with the help of private banks, which vie to attract the assets of so-called high net-worth individuals. Oil-rich states with an internationally mobile elite have been especially prone to watching their wealth disappear into offshore bank accounts instead of being invested at home, the research suggests.

http://www.theguardian.com/business/2012/jul/21/global-elite-tax-offshore-economy

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Tax haven There is no generally accepted definition of what a tax haven is, but activities that are commonly associated with such places range far beyond tax. Some definitions do focus purely on tax: for example, a widely cited academic paper describes a tax haven as a jurisdiction where particular taxes, such as an inheritance tax or income tax, are levied at a low rate or not at all.[1] Other definitions refer to a state, country, or territory which maintains a system of financial secrecy, which enables foreign individuals to hide assets or income to avoid or reduce taxes in the home jurisdiction. Some refer to "secrecy jurisdictions" as an alternative to "tax havens," to emphasise the secrecy element, and a Financial Secrecy Index ranks jurisdictions according to their size and secrecy. [2] Earnings from income generated from real estate (i.e. by renting property owned in an offshore jurisdiction) can also be eliminated in this way. Definitions[edit] There are several definitions of tax havens.

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