2020 is turning out to be an eventful year in the fight against corrupt financial practices.
Wednesday, February 19, 2020
Join Tax Justice Network and the FACT Coalition for a discussion of the 2020 Financial Secrecy Index, the ranking of the U.S., and the status of relevant U.S. legislation.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. is the second largest provider of financial secrecy in the world, trailing only the Cayman Islands, according to a new index published today by the Tax Justice Network.
The story of tireless congressional staff uncovering brazen misdeeds by powerful individuals and corporations in Elise J. Bean’s Financial Exposure has an anchoring quality in the context of rampant scandal that has come to characterize today’s politics. Bean’s account reiterates the point that tax avoidance and tax evasion were endemic to our financial system long before allegations against a sitting president brought them to the forefront of the public consciousness.
While the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (PSI) is an investigative body rather than a policymaking one, the inquiries into abusive tax shelters, secretive banking practices, and corporate tax avoidance that Bean describes illustrate some of the central policy problems plaguing the American tax system.
The Financial Accountability and Corporate Transparency Coalition (FACT Coalition) sent a letter to House and Senate Committees on Appropriation calling for an additional $495 Million in funding for the IRS to Implement TCJA. The full letter can be read below or downloaded here.
Sometimes, ranking near No. 1 in the world is not a badge of pride. According to the Financial Secrecy Index released by the Tax Justice Network (TJN), the United States is the second largest contributor to financial secrecy in the world, placing it in the company of infamous tax havens such as Switzerland (ranked No. 1) and the Cayman Islands (ranked No. 3). Financial secrecy is enabling people to hide income from the authorities to evade taxes or financial regulation, launder profits from crime, finance terrorism, or otherwise break the law.
As the new TJN report explains, the United States contributes more to financial secrecy in the world than any country other than Switzerland for two reasons. First, this country has the largest share (22.3 percent) of the global market for offshore financial services. Second, several U.S. states promote financial secrecy by allowing individuals to form corporations without providing any real identifying information. In some states, people who want a library card must provide more identifying information than those who want to incorporate. The result is a huge amount of money held in shell companies in the United States that cannot be traced to any individual anywhere in the world.