Tuesday, September 29, 2020

The Really Big Tax Cheats

 So the revelation that Trump is a tax-cheat appears to be a surprise for some in the media. However, the fact is that he is doing what the rest of the rich do with US government approval.

“It would be very common for my wealthier clients in the world of real estate to report losses or to break even,” said Robert Keebler who runs a tax advisory firm in Green Bay, Wisconsin, which serves high-net-worth clients. “It’s not something cooked up in some law firm, it’s something Congress devised.”

Experts said it was not uncommon for wealthy business owners to claim holiday homes or hobby farms were businesses whose running costs should be offset against other income, or that private jet flights for weekends away in Miami were business expenses.

However, his tax evasion is small change to the the plunder of Africa's treasury. 

Africa is losing nearly $89bn a year in illicit financial flows such as tax evasion and theft, amounting to more than it receives in development aid, an estimate, published by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. It shows an increasing trend over time and is higher than most previous estimates and it is most likely an underestimate.

“Illicit financial flows rob Africa and its people of their prospects, undermining transparency and accountability and eroding trust in African institutions,” said UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi.

Nearly half of the total annual figure of $88.6bn is accounted for by the export of commodities such as gold, diamonds and platinum, the report said. For example, gold accounted for 77 percent of total under-invoiced exports worth $40bn in 2015, it showed. Understating a commodity’s true value helps conceal trade profits abroad and deprives developing countries of foreign exchange and erodes their tax base, UNCTAD said.

The report calls Africa a “net creditor to the world”, echoing economists’ observations that the aid-reliant continent is actually a net exporter of capital because of these practices.


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