Posted by Christie Malry on July 22, 2012 at 9:20 am
The Guardian is getting very excited about tax havens:
A far-reaching new study suggests a staggering $21tn in assets has been lost to global tax havens. If taxed, that could have been enough to put parts of Africa back on its feet – and even solve the euro crisis
No. You don't get to do this. Just because money is in a "tax haven", you cannot logically conclude that tax is due on it. It might be that the account holder has already declared the account to their local tax authorities and has paid the tax due on it. Or it may be that their tax law means that no further tax is due on it. You cannot simply assume that money in a tax haven means tax evasion. You're going to have to prove it. And this article doesn't do that.
Secondly, the article is pretty thin on its sources. It provides a pretty graphic as "proof". In the manner of all articles written by left-wing campaigners on tax havens (this is from our friends, the Tax Justice Network), it seems to assume that the UK and the US are both tax havens. So are all assets held in the UK and US considered to be stashed away in tax havens? We can't tell. The full report isn't published at the time of writing, but maybe we'll find out more in due course.
What we can tell is that the Guardian is going to have to try a lot harder than this woeful, piss poor pretendy journalism.