Monday, July 19, 2010

Small businesses join forces in opposition to tax evasion

A new grass-roots campaign against tax avoidance will be announced Tuesday; it will boast the support of hundreds of representatives and investors in small businesses and will be formed of a coalition of non-profit groups that believe tax avoidance is bad for U.S. business.

“The campaign is unusual because it is the first time that small businesses have organized to combat offshore tax avoidance and evasion in a significant way,” reports Lynnley Browning of The New York Times. The campaign is backed by Democratic senator Carl Levin, who has investigated offshore tax havens and their wealthy patrons.

The report to be released argues that American multinational corporations avoid at least $37 billion in federal taxes annually, and calls for new laws to prevent offshore finagling of taxable earnings as well as the repeal of certain rules that currently facilitate such tax evasion.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

France aims to use leaked data to prosecute tax evaders

Details surrounding the acquisition and transfer of client information from HSBC’s Swiss private-banking arm have placed a Franco-Italian computer engineer and colleague at the center of a dispute between Switzerland and France. While Switzerland objects to the use of data that it claims was stolen, France intends to use the data to prosecute potential tax cheats and has even shared the information with other countries.

Although some evidence indicates that the computer engineer and colleague were attempting to sell the client banking information, France insists that it did not pay for the data and rather attained it lawfully. The data was in fact acquired by French authorities acting at the request of a Swiss prosecutor to conduct a search.

Regardless of the details of the data’s acquisition, the release of client information and the ensuing international dispute over legitimacy has, as The Wall Street Journal writes, “rocked the banking world.” Tax evaders in Italy, Spain, and the U.K. may soon face prosecution as a result of this data leak.