this is a repost from Salon.com opinions
"According to the Government Accountability Office, nearly all of America's top 100 corporations maintain subsidiaries in countries identified as tax havens. As the GAO notes, there could be reasons other than avoiding the IRS to set up branches in places such as Singapore, Luxembourg and Switzerland, where taxes are light or nonexistent and keeping clients' illicit secrets is considered a matter of national pride.
But what reason other than evasion could there be for Goldman Sachs Group to set up three subsidiaries in Bermuda, five in Mauritius, and 15 in the Cayman Islands? Why did Bank of America Financial need two subsidiaries in Guernsey? Why did Wachovia need 18 subsidiaries in Bermuda, three in the British Virgin Islands, and 16 in the Caymans? Why did Lehman Brothers need 31 subsidiaries in the Caymans?
What do Bank of America's 59 subsidiaries in the Caymans actually do? Why does Citigroup need 427 separate subsidiaries in tax havens, including 12 in the Channel Islands, 21 in Jersey, 91 in Luxembourg, 19 in Bermuda and 90 in the Caymans? What exactly is going on at Morgan Stanley's 19 subs in Jersey, 29 subs in Luxembourg, 14 subs in the Marshall Islands, and its amazing 158 subs in the Caymans?
And speaking of AIG, why does it have 18 subs in tax-haven countries? (Don't expect to find out from Fox News Channel or the New York Post, because News Corp. has its own constellation of strange subsidiaries, including 33 in the Caymans alone.)
When the cost of these shenanigans was last estimated two years ago, the U.S. government's annual loss in revenue due to tax avoidance by major corporations and super-rich individuals was pegged at about $100 billion -- considerably more than a rounding error, even today. But of course that is only a rough assessment, as is the estimate of $12 trillion in untaxed assets hidden around the world. Nobody will know for certain until the books are opened and transparency is established.
Whatever the accurate accounting proves to be, it is certain to exceed hundreds of billions annually worldwide...[see source for more if you want ] "
None of these tax havens could exist without the connivance or at least the cooperation of the world's most powerful governments, which remain dominated by financial industry lobbyists even now. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has sought greater transparency from the tax havens for years, hearing promises from most and defiance from a few.
But in reality almost nothing was accomplished until last year, when U.S. law enforcement authorities began to pursue Union Bank of Switzerland (UBS) executives with criminal indictments. The UBS probe led to a settlement last month that included a fine of $780 million and an agreement to provide information about tens of thousands of American clients maintaining secret accounts at that huge bank.Quantcast
Over the past several years, however, the trend has gone the other way, with abuse of bank secrecy and the expatriation of investment and profits growing rapidly"
* * * * * *
and then when the Prez decides to give USA taxpayers a tiny amount of the taxes they have avoided all these many years, billions and more ....it is a political maneuver to say to the paying taxes all the time citizens" see what I am doing for YOU ?"...and yes, this is a good move, finally, but the total monetary pay-backs are minimal, mostly a symbolic gesture of repatriation, reparations, and not the real amount or the real act.
Better than nothing being done while pretending that all the monies and job that 'have gone, gone, gone......' elsewhere for these many years of exporting our corporate taxes and cheaper labor over there, is it really diminished ?
we'll see...if any money, jobs, responsibility & accountability returns to where IT ALL BELONGS, RIGHT HERE IN THIS BIG U S OF America, where the thefts started and became deported or exported.
corruption is always here, not just 'there' and rampant, infused into our govt systems and corporate businesses. and then they say "vote for me" and "trust us".
(c) maryjanie 2009