$32 Trillion and Climbing!
By Patrick Carmody, Esq.
A trillion dollars is not what it used to be! A report published on Sunday (July 22) by the UK-based Tax Justice Network claims that conservatively at least $21 trillion is squirreled away in tax havens by the world’s richest, and the number may be closer to $32 trillion. And that’s just financial assets, the kind that carries a portrait of George Washington or Queen Elizabeth II on them, not other illiquid assets such real estate, baubles, art, etc. No wonder the art-world is going bonkers (non-traceable assets)!
This study implies a heretofore un-thought of level of tax evasion/avoidance. I don’t think I know what a trillion dollars would look like, or if I would have the energy to count that high, or indeed want to. But I know it’s a lot of dough and a lot of taxes avoided and evaded, and a lot of bankers’ and tax advisors’ pockets lined in the process. I also know that it’s less schools, less teachers, less firemen, and poorer quality of life for many in society, and…. Well, that’s just plain wrong!
And in a related development, within the past month, the I.R.S. have proclaimed (in an unusually tortured analysis even for it) that I.R.S. whistleblower rewards are not payable for information about offshore bank accounts. Huh?
Yes, that’s a head-scratcher without a doubt. Why not for God’s sake? If this I.R.S. position stands (and I don’t think it will), watch that $21 trillion number accrete rapidly. Oh, and be careful on that bridge or train you use every day to commute to work. It may not have been refurbished or even examined in a while due to budgetary constraints.
Patrick Carmody is an attorney who files cases with the I.R.S.’s Whistleblower Office. Details of the I.R.S. program can be found here. http://www.irs.gov/compliance/article/0,,id=180171,00.html/