The recent, actually so recent the papers’ ink is still wet, leak of the 13.4 million files that relate to a law firm and corporate services provider, who together operated in over 7 jurisdictions under a single name of Appleby, well, this is the bulk of the papers, though the others are relating to over 16 corporate registries, which are maintained by the governments within these locations.
The papers themselves cover a vast period of time, over 60 years, since the leak has been announced, the names of several well-known or high ranking figures have been floated around in connection with offshore accounting, here in Britain it seems that even the Queen’s Estate, the Duchy of Lancaster, has stored or invested money in the Cayman Islands.
Files within the leak show that Her Majesty’s Estate, let’s be clear about that, Her Majesty’s Estate, has held and still holds investments via funds that have financed a myriad of companies, including BrightHouse, which was recently in the news for reportedly exploiting thousands of poor families, the Duchy has admitted that it was clueless to the apparent investment it made to BrightHouse until these papers were leaked and the numerous media organisations approached the Duchy.
Critics are likely to ask why the money would be stored or even sent there in the first place, some even detailing that the Duchy has brought the Queen’s ‘Reputation into Disrepute’, this is an astounding turn of events but it is still developing, so, there could be more to come from this.
Beyond the Sovereign’s estate, others have been drawn into this web of intrigue, there is nothing to suggest investments or storing money in this way is illegal, however, it is probably more the shock of such a large swathe of figures, business owners and political individuals being caught up in this leak that has caused such a reaction.
Alongside Her Majesty’s Estate, the following companies and people have also been caught out by this leak (reference: The List of Others):
- Tax Avoidance has been linked to massive companies like Nike and Apple.
- Hundreds of Millions in investment have been traced back to online platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, the source of this financial support, Russian State Financial Institutions.
- Lord Michael Ashcroft, the former Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party.
- Stephen Bronfman: Chief Fundraiser and Senior Adviser to Canadian PM Justin Trudeau, which will probably leave him with a few awkward questions, but none more so than the last of this grouping.
- U.S Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross: He is said to have a stake in a company that receives substanial payments from Vladimir Putin’s Son in Law, a link to Russia at this divisive and difficult time could be the death knell for Mr Ross.
This leak comes only a year after the Panama Papers, a larger dump of files and documents which proved how some of the world’s wealthiest and most powerful hid their money, legally, this is the thing that causes me a headache.
There is nothing to suggest that what the people mentioned in either the Panama or Paradise Papers have done is illegal or wrong but, try explaining that to people struggling to cope, striving to make a living and paying out more money than they are either earning or saving, its true that there is no law against what has occurred, so far, but it is rather more of a moral issue than it is a legal one.
People pay tax, this is a contribution to the country, a way of ensuring that when you say ‘I pay my way’ you actually do, so, if people who are struggling to pay, hear that the rich and successful are finding ways to save or store money in Tax Havens, thereby not paying the same amount of tax, then there would be questions that the majority would like to ask.
Why. This would probably be the highest up the list.
I don’t want to get into the whys and wherefores of such thinking, rather I would prefer to state what is, to those who understand the system, obvious, the difference between Tax Evasion and Tax Avoidance.
Tax Evasion: This is the ILLEGAL way that people use to avoid paying taxes, this is done by not reporting income, reporting expenses that are not legally allowed or by simply not paying taxes owed.
It is most commonly associated with income tax evasion, however, businesses can practise this on all the taxes it owes.
Tax Avoidance: This is the legitimate way of minimizing taxes, this is by the use of methods, such as schemes or tax havens, that allow a person or company to pay a lesser amount of tax but still pay towards it, avoidance does not mean a complete dodge of the money that is needed to be paid, it just means that they pay a less amount.
Have we cleared that up, yep, okay, let me put my belief as bluntly as possible, I have explained the difference but really, to me, Avoidance is just finding fancy ways of dodging the Taxman, HMRC, IRS or whichever sector deals with this, depending on where you are, we all pay it, so why should some dodge this by paying a lesser amount.
It’s like going to a pub and you paying full price, while the next customer says that they have a scheme they can pay a part of the cost with, they get the drink and are morally bankrupt, while you are charged full price and are financially poorer.
That’s my way of looking at it, so, its my opinion and therefore it should not be taken seriously, as the disclaimer displays, an opinion such is this is just a viewpoint, a minor, ineffective and insignificant viewpoint, so, read this and take whichever opinion you wish, freedom is a wondrous thing.