Looking for some opinions on ways in which banks should respond and deal with emerging tax challeneges i.e. tax evasion by individuals, tax avoidance by multi-nationals and spillovers and competition??
Katherine, unlike some on here I have no delusions about Tax, and I certainly make sure that I pay all the tax the Inland Revenue tells me I owe!
I think part of the problem are the banks themselves. As you know being in the UK most of the banks for many years (up until today) advertise accounts which are held in Jersey, the Isle of Man etc, and last time I was in a UK high street bank branch they were still pushing investments in low tax environments.
Lets face it most of these low tax investments are designed for lump sum long term investments which will be made by people when they retire, sell their hose or otherwise are of high net worth...and the funds they deposit are sent straight back to the "mainland" for long term investment in property, projects etc at a much higher rate by the banks themselves.
So we now have an environment where the Banks themselves have encouraged investments in low rate tax places, and this has meant the rise of small tax efficient countries and authorities which have been used by the banks themselves.
This was extended from savings and investments to EARNINGS and the same low tax environments started to attract not only savings from "foreigners" but also businesses are attracted by the prospect of low income tax, low corporation tax AND tax incentives designed to attract such business.
Places like Ireland set up the IFSC centre in Dublin to be a "low tax zone", Gibraltar boasts a Tax Free business community, Germany advertises tax incentives for businesses and so we should not be surprised if multi national companies like Google and IBM and others take advantage of such low tax environments..... There is no dual tax treaty and the rest of the world is doing it....so why not?
It is TAX AVOIDANCE which is a game played by tax lawyers and accountants, it is NOT TAX EVASION which is a game played by CRIMINALS. I am not in a position to differentiate between the two!
The USA seems to get very annoyed when Google starts to pay tax in Ireland, and the Irish get annoyed when they pay so LITTLE tax.....but why should they not?
The system is there and the businesses are doing nothing "wrong".
There are some like Donald Trump who espouse bringing jobs (and tax payments) BACK to the USA, so then why is he supporting the offshoring of U.S. jobs to S.E.Asia by profiting from building high rise accommodation units designed for low income call centre workers?
Why is Mit Romney (and his companies) one of the lowest tax payers in the USA?
Why do most British politicians have pensions in Jersey, Guernsey, the IOM etc??
Because the banks CAN offer these products, and the customers gobble them up!! Personal and corporate greed!!