On November 5th of 2017, 13.4 million electronic documents were released holding confidential information on how the wealthy funnel their money through offshore accounts to avoid paying taxes. The papers were hacked from Appelby, a law firm that specializes in offshore banking deals across the world. The papers explicitly show how wealthy individuals use offshore companies and accounts it “tax havens” to avoid paying taxes. Among those named in the Paradise Papers where the President of Columbia, Juan Manuel Santos; the current US Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross; and Queen Elizabeth II. The papers also name multinational corporations that funnel money through foreign companies like Facebook, Apple, Nike, and Walmart to name a few.
Appleby is a major player in the offshore industry, and advises corporations and the mega-wealthy on how to move their money offshore to avoid taxes, by doing things such as buying airplanes for the sole purpose of lowering taxes. It is estimated that 8 percent of household wealth is held offshore, amounting to $190 billion in lost annual global tax revenue. Yet this is nothing when compared to $7.6 trillion that is hidden in tax havens across the world by large multinational corporations. Although, all of these dealings were made legally and above board, it still has an air of mischievous to it. There have been attempts at changing laws to lower the amount of money being funneled through tax havens, but there hasn’t been much success. No one likes to pay taxes, but it is our civil duty to do so in order to build and maintain the places we live in, and by moving your money through tax havens, legally or otherwise, you avoid paying your fair share. It is time to put a cap on the money that can be stored offshore, and have everyone pay their fair share.