Global Super Rich Now Hoard $31 Trillion in Tax Havens: Report

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Common Dreams

Global Super Rich Now Hoard $31 Trillion in Tax Havens: Report

Amount far exceeds previous estimates

by
Common Dreams staff

The Cayman Islands: common tax haven.(David Doubilet/National Geographic)

A new report by the Tax Justice Network released Sunday reveals that between $21 trillion and $31 trillion is currently tucked away in global tax havens by the global super-rich--an amount that far exceeds previous estimates. Through exploiting gaps in global tax rules, the global financial elite are managing to hide "as much as the American and Japanese GDPs put together" from taxation, leaving the world's poor to carry the burden of global debt through harsh austerity measures.

$32 trillion of hidden financial assets in offshore tax havens represents up to to $280 billion in lost income tax revenues, according to the study released to the Guardian's Observer.

The report pools data from the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, United Nations and global central banks.

In the report, The Price of Offshore Revisited, the Tax Justice Network details the ways in which the trillions of dollars are essentially smuggled out of countries into tax free havens such as Switzerland and the Cayman Islands through private banks.

According to the calculations, £6.3tn of assets is owned by only 92,000 people--0.001% of the world's population

"The problem here is that the assets of these countries are held by a small number of wealthy individuals while the debts are shouldered by the ordinary people of these countries through their governments," the report says.

"These estimates reveal a staggering failure: inequality is much, much worse than official statistics show, but politicians are still relying on trickle-down to transfer wealth to poorer people," said John Christensen of the Tax Justice Network. "People on the street have no illusions about how unfair the situation has become."

James Henry, who compiled the report, stated: “[Wealth is] protected by a highly paid, industrious bevy of professional enablers in the private banking, legal, accounting and investment industries taking advantage of the increasingly borderless, frictionless global economy.”

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