Monday, May 09, 2016

The Panama Papers: Now You Can Help Track Down Tax Cheats

All over the world today some of its richest people are quivering in their boots.

Because for over a month hundreds of journalists have been digging through the so-called Panama Papers, the more than 11.5 leaked documents from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca.

Documents that have exposed how the wealthy are stashing their money in offshore tax havens. So they can become richer while whole countries and billions of people become poorer.

And today is the day the names of many of those possible tax dodgers will be revealed.

And all of us can help journalists and investigators go after the guilty.

Confidential details of more than 200,000 offshore accounts in the Panama Papers — including the names of at least 625 Canadians — will be revealed Monday, in the hope that public scrutiny of the material will generate hundreds of tips about possible corruption and tax dodging.

"We think this is a logical next step in the investigation," said Gerard Ryle, director of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), the Washington-based organization that has been co-ordinating reporting on the records. 

 "We have 370 journalists around the world looking at the data, but it's so vast, I mean 11½ million documents," Ryle said. "We know we've missed things."

Which is something we should all try to do for the reasons the whistleblower who leaked the information explains here.

“Shell companies are often associated with the crime of tax evasion. But the Panama Papers show beyond a shadow of a doubt that although shell companies are not illegal, by definition they are used to carry out a wide array of serious crimes,” the source wrote. “Income inequality is one of the defining issues of our time.”

It is a vast conspiracy.

“Mossack Fonseca did not work in a vacuum. Despite repeated fines and documented regulatory violations, it found allies and clients at major law firms in virtually every nation,” the manifesto claimed.

And if the investigation is successful it will help expose the so-called One Percent's biggest lie:

That we can't afford to provide proper social services, or healthcare, or education for our people. And must submit to the brutish policies of austerity because there just isn't enough money.

When the reason there is no money is because the super rich have siphoned trillions out of the global economy...

And one can only hope that the Canada Revenue Agency will use the information that will be released today to good advantage. Because although the Liberal government is giving the CRA more money,  

When it comes to going after tax cheats their record couldn't be more dismal. 

The CRA’s written answers to questions from Maclean’s on issues related to offshore tax avoidance offer glimpses of the frustratingly slow pace of tax enforcement when it comes to foreign accounts. For instance, wouldn’t the CRA be expected to pounce on the Panama leaks to launch criminal tax evasion probes against Canadians named in reports of newly exposed schemes? Their track record after previous leaks suggests “pounce” isn’t the right verb.

And the penalties for being caught trying to dodge taxes couldn't be more pathetic.

Tax professionals were buzzing when CBC reported in early March that the CRA had offered a deal to other Canadians involved in the same KPMG structure on the Isle of Man, giving them a chance to voluntarily pay their taxes with interest and avoid charges.

Of course even with the information released today, cracking down on tax cheats will not be easy, because they don't call them shell companies for nothing.

But the rewards couldn't be greater. For if the super rich are forced to pay their fair share of taxes, we could finally make a serious attempt to eradicate poverty, in Canada and all over the world.

And if the rich still resist, we can shake our corrupt capitalist system down to its very foundations.

Check out this website this afternoon. 

And let's hope it will help make the rich pay for making our world a poorer place.

Squeeze the money they've been hiding out of them.

Until they squeal for mercy.

Or end up in the place so many rightfully belong...

Please click here to recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers.


  1. Anyone willing to make a prediction? Will any well-known Cons, Libs, or NDPers be on the list of tax cheats?

  2. We already know the big names cheaters like the Irvings google:
    Apr 5, 2013 - Another tax dodge pioneer was K.C. Irving of New Brunswick who in 1972 moved to tax-free Bermuda and placed ownership of his empire into .
    Came out in the Offshore Leaks in '13.

    1. Anonymous5:51 PM

      Irvings are the biggest tax cheats in question and should be held accountable and made to make restitution for taxes unpaid with no deals..

  3. Man's Greed will destroy us all!

  4. Anonymous8:20 AM

    The rich pay way more than their fair share of taxes, the middle class pretty much breaks ever, and the poor suck and suck money and contribute practically nothing.

    7.8 percent who made over 100,000 (2.1 million Canadians) paid 50.89 of all taxes.

    People who made under 30k (48.49 % of Canadians ) paid ONLY 2.7 of our taxes.

    I know you commies hate numbers and facts, Simon usually doesn't post comments that conflict with the narrative on this blog but hey it's worth a shot. Have a wonderful Monday all. :)

    1. I'm sure Mr Big mans up and informs the cashier at his supermarket and the attendant at his filling station that they suck money and contribute practically nothing. We know he is a courageous commie-fighter, back from cold storage in the Diefenbunker.

    2. Anonymous12:42 PM

      Good point ... so long as the data is correct. Do you have a source?

      I managed to find a report by the Centre for Policy Alternatives that supports your argument BUT the greater issue here is that a very small percentage of the population now accounts for a very large percentage of money collected in Canada. The top 1% of earner collected 13.6% by 2000 and this number has increased during the Harper years. So ... of course, they're going to pay more tax overall because they're making a RIDICULOUS amount more money than those lower brackets.

      What's a fair trade-off? Everyone pays their fair share.

    3. Anonymous4:01 PM

      Who's numbers?

      I say 62 humans have more wealth than half the world's population. By any measure that is obscene and by definition anti-social. No one living on this earth should own more than a few millions not matter what.

    4. Anonymous7:07 PM

      Anonymous 4:01 PM what do you suggest? We take it from them by force? Good luck.

    5. hi anon 8:20. AM...yes we commies know that's what you fascist Thatcherites believe. And that your immune to evidence based economics. For if the rich pay too much in taxes, and the poor don't pay enough, how do you explain the growing economic inequality here in Canada and all over the world? You know, explain how the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. Or even see the writing on the wall. Or the rich pay more in taxes or sooner or later there will be a revolution. Then we commies will really be in charge, and you'll be in real trouble.... ;)

    6. Anonymous9:22 AM

      Communism doesn't work. It's been tried many times. Read up up on history sometime.

  5. Google Zac Goldsmith non-dom status (non-domiciled). His billionaire dad managed to avoid estate taxes in the UK and in France.

    At least the bus-driver's son won the election.

    1. hi lagatta...yes that ghastly toff got his bell rung, and like David Cameron's dad, his father was setting a good example by dodging taxes. But they are all squealing like hogs, and the bus driver's son won the election...

  6. I await, Simon, with great eagerness, the release of the names. However, I share your concerns about the CRA's commitment tot going after these cheats. However, given the widespread publicity engendered by the Panama Papers, I retain a guarded optimism that governments will be shamed into taking action.

    1. Anonymous5:41 PM

      How does one shame a politician..... One must first have morals to be shamed......

    2. Anonymous5:51 PM

      "Banks, financial regulators and tax authorities have failed. Decisions have been made that have spared the wealthy while focusing instead on reining in middle- and low-income citizens." Well said!!!!!!!

    3. hi Lorne...yes, it is something to be concerned about. The Liberals have given the CRA more money and a more aggressive mandate, and hopefully told them to stop bothering birdwatchers. But I've always felt that the amount of resources dedicated to enforce our tax laws is hopelessly inadequate. And that our tax collectors should be more aggressive like the IRS is in the United States. Because they're up against an army of sleazy high powered lawyers, and don't have the funds to wage long court battles. I'm encouraged by what's happening, but I'll hold the celebration until I see the results....

    4. I agree, but is it the IRS that is targeting Canadians, many of whom have never lived in the US and certainly not worked there, but have some "connection" to that country. It is ghastly; we pay higher taxes anyway because of healthcare, and even poorer people pay something for that reason.

  7. Anonymous5:40 PM

    CRA is spending the 400 or so million to aggressively attack the middle class. I have not seen so many small business audits in the 25 or so years as an accountant than I have seen since the beginning of 2016. We even get calls from CRA for audits of companies that only has been in business six months. Not even a tax return filed????? And rude and ignorant would be a pleasant way to describe their behaviour. You can bet your bottom dollar that there will be far more small business bankruptcies than there will be of GREEDY offshore tax dodgers bought to justice.....CRA will not make deals with small businesses because they know these businesses do not have the resources to fight back. CRA's behaviour to these small businesses are like that of a school yard bully!!!!!! Many of these Panama GREEDY cheats which will probably turn out to be Politicians or their friends of which will be protected by CRA. CRA is an absolutely corrupt organization that can only be compared to the Mafia. I do not think there is any moral compass to follow in that lying, thieving, two faced, ignorant, criminal organization.

    1. hi anon...there is no doubt that the CRA has been harsher on the small fish than it has on the big ones. And the reason is because it's easier. The rich have legions of lawyers finding every possible tax loop hole for them, while we don't. And that's got to change. They have been given a new mandate so let's wait and see what happens...

    2. Anonymous3:58 PM

      NO NEW MANDATE AT CRA. Talk is cheap and I have no hope that the Liberals will change things in that department. Liberals, even though I voted for them, have too many rich friends and former & current politicians that will get pissed if they cannot continue ripping off Canadians with their criminal tax fraud.

  8. e.a.f.12:16 AM

    What the Panama papers may start is the discussion regarding wealth and its division in the world. When so few own so many leaving so many with so little, the time may have come to look towards a new way of doing business in the world.

    The Panama papers may force many democracies to re evaluate how the collect taxes, how all citizens are taxes and will tax havens be permitted. In dictatorships such as China, Russia, it may be a whole different conversation and if the citizens get the truth, there may be a couple of new revulalutions.

  9. Anonymous1:06 PM

    Here's Hoping e.a.f.