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...
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