Cet article de Eric Jackson publié dans Forbes le 24 Juillet 2012 apporte une vision très intéressante sur les paradis fiscaux, et aussi sur la politique de Français Hollande !
- En taxant les plus riches à 75%, il va simplement les inciter davantage à délocaliser leurs fortunes
- La meilleure façon de récupérer les fortunes offshore est de baisser les impôts des 0.001% les plus riches
If You Want To Crack Down on $32 Trillion in Offshore Tax Havens, Lower Taxes For the Ultra-Rich
The report details how the global wealthy use a cadre of financial advisors – private bankers, accountants, lawyers – to skirt taxes in their local countries.
One of the stated purposes of this lobbying group is to “oppose tax havens and offshore finance.”
They go on to say that half of this missing and untaxed wealth is controlled by a mere 92,000 individuals. That would be your 1%, right there. Actually, it’s really only the 0.001% of the global population.
Most of the biggest tax dodgers, according to the report, come from the world’s poorest countries. For example, according to the Guardian:
The world’s poorest countries, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, have fought long and hard in recent years to receive debt forgiveness from the international community; but this research suggests that in many cases, if they had been able to draw their richest citizens into the tax net, they could have avoided being dragged into indebtedness in the first place. Oil-rich Nigeria has seen more than $300bn spirited away since 1970, for example, while Ivory Coast has lost $141bn.
The Tax Justice Network has an agenda to push — and that is raising tax rates. From later in the Guardian piece previously quoted:
Assuming that super-rich investors earn a relatively modest 3% a year on their $21tn, taxing that vast wall of money at 30% would generate a very useful $189bn a year – more than rich economies spend on aid to the rest of the world.
Another conclusion by the report is that “wealth doesn’t trickle down — it just floods offshore.”
However, the irony here is that higher taxes imposed by governments around the world may only drive more wealth offshore rather than bringing it back onshore.
New French president, Francois Hollande, ran on a platform to raise the top income tax rate to 75%.
My favorite response to this policy by an American was from actor Will Smith when asked the 75% tax rate on a French current affairs show as seen in this clip:
“75%?! Yeah, that’s different, that’s different. Yeah, 75. Well, you know.. God Bless America!”
Look, it’s funny, but it makes a serious point. It’s folly to think that we live in some Utopian world whereby governments are going to be able to trap all that $32 trillion in offshore wealth just by raising taxes. Hollande’s 75% policy is simply going to drive more assets into Switzerland.
And France is already a place with a net wealth tax that is a progressive rate from 0 – 1.8% of net assets taxed every year on your after-tax wealth. That’s right. You keep paying taxes annually on your accumulated wealth after you’ve accumulated it and paid taxes on it.
Reuters digital chief Chrystia Freeland has written extensively about the rise of the new global elites and it’s the subject of a new book from her called “Plutocrats: The Rise of the New global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else” which comes out this October, which I can’t wait to get my hands on.
Freeland is very clear in describing the growing wealth gap in our society, but isn’t so naive about simply raising taxes as a simple solution to fixing the gap.
Ironically, I think the best solution for governments “capturing” some of this off-shore wealth may be lowering taxes on this so-called global elite instead of raising them. Why? Because this 0.001% will always ensure that their wealth finds the most attractive home. Why not ensure a good chunk of it is housed in the USA?
The US will likely attract more of the French elite — all things being equal and current tax rates in both countries staying the same — over time, but may see some of its own wealthy elite fleeing to places like Hong Kong and Singapore (remember Facebook‘s Eduardo Saverin?) over time if those place are judged to be more accommodating over time.
The political discourse about taxes (at least in America) always seems to devolve into one of “what is fair and not fair?” For example, “It’s not fair that these elite are hiding $32 trillion offshore. Therefore, we need to make it more fair by raising their taxes, etc.”
It seems to me the more pertinent discussion should be around “how do we ensure our tax revenues are higher than our needs as a country?”
That’s a different type of discussion. It should focus on how can America be a more attractive place for the world’s “global elite” as well as the world’s best and brightest (through better immigration policies for example). The world is competing for these people, so why shouldn’t America? America has a number of attractive features to begin with. Making it also an appealing place from a tax perspective would simply help make it that much more attractive.
Does it mean that, by catering to the “global elite,” America (or any government) has to turn its back on the rest of its population? Absolutely not. It doesn’t have to be either or. At the end of the day, all that matters is that we take steps to ensure our tax revenues exceed our obligations and that we’re creating wealth for all Americans.
We have to be realistic when looking at the offshore tax issue. It is silly to simply suggest Pollyanna solutions and think they’ll work.