TaxCast on Ownership Avoidance and the Great Escape

From Tax Justice Network’s December 20 Taxcast.
In trusts we trust? We look at the new game in town: beneficial ownership avoidance, the booming industry in alternative escape vehicles from public registers and why we must shine the spotlight on all of them. Plus: we discuss two big stories we think will define 2017: the race to the bottom between nations on tax aka a transfer of wealth to the corporate community, and how the world’s biggest havens are increasingly having to account for the devastating effect their tax and/or financial secrecy policies are having on human rights around the world…

Featuring: Lawyer Paul Beckett of cyber-intelligance agency Synceritas, journalist and financial sleuth Richard Smith of Naked Capitalism, and John Christensen of the Tax Justice Network. Produced and presented for the Tax Justice Network by Naomi Fowler.

“What has happened worldwide is a new phenomenon which I have called beneficial ownership avoidance…the danger is that if one of these structures is established by someone who is less than scrupulous the client going forward can say when asked, do you have an interest under a trust anywhere? The answer is no. Do you own this particular asset? No.” ~Paul Beckett

“There’s been a boom in NZ trusts and the suspicion has to be that there’s plenty more oligarchs and the like using these structures to obfuscate ownership.” ~Richard Smith

“The race to bottom between nations on tax is a game for losers…this does nothing at all to improve productivity or growth or the quality of economics anywhere, it quite simply is a transfer of wealth to the corporate community” ~John Christensen

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  1. hemeantwell

    Certainly sounds important. Hopefully someone will summarize or provide a transcript. I just don’t have time to watch vids.

    1. James McFadden

      I hear this comment “I don’t have time” over and over again and it is always just an excuse to be lazy. No time for a 40 min podcast once a month, that is just BS. Can’t listen during a commute or on a walk? Come on.

      1. Vatch

        People get requests to watch or listen to more than one 40 minute podcast per month. It’s more like five 40 minute podcasts, ten 30 minutes videos, five 60 minute videos, and two 2 hour videos per month. It’s a bit like 100 year storms, which seem to occur every 5 or 10 years.

        If you have the time, great. But don’t criticize people who don’t have the time. Instead, you might consider doing the busy people a favor, and produce a transcript.

        1. jrs

          It all requires a lot of device usage as well, which not everyone is used to. Ok so I take my desktop/laptop on a walk with me and then …. :).

          But in all honesty not everyone is device heavy, and slow connection speeds are also a problem (you have to pay for premium connection speeds and even then old wiring my make it a waste of money).

  2. amouise

    It’s not a transcript but from the original website:

    Want to listen offline? Right click here and select ‘save link as’ to download to your phone or tablet.

  3. Kris Alman

    The relevant discussion regarding beneficial ownership avoidance starts ~15 min. mark. The works type is one with no beneficial owner.

    I am confused about these kinds of trusts. Is this the same as a “purpose trust,” which Wikipedia describes as a type of trust which has no beneficiaries, but instead exists for advancing some non-charitable purpose of some kind?

    The Tax Justice Network believes that privacy arguments must be challenged.

    While there are well known off-shore shelters, the podcast talks about identical wording in domestic statutes in Delaware, New Hampshire, South Dakota and Wyoming. (25 min mark) New Zealand is considering joining this race to the bottom.

    When it comes to privacy, I would add that philanthrocapitalists that donate billions anonymously into “charitable” trusts are also huge problem. Here’s a good link:

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