One law for the rich, another for the poor.
If you’re a regular person with a regular job, governments will chase you to the ends of the earth for their taxes. In the case of our own Nats, up to and including paper boys/girls. But if you’re one of the super-rich, well, different rules apply. In the latest scandal:
The HSBC files: What we know so far
On Monday, the Guardian, the BBC, Le Monde and 50 other media outlets reveal that HSBC’s Swiss banking arm helped wealthy customers dodge taxes and conceal millions of dollars of assets, doling out bundles of untraceable cash and advising clients on how to circumvent domestic tax authorities. The HSBC files consist of thousands of pages made available via the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. Covering the period 2005-07, they amount to the biggest banking leak in history, shedding light on some 30,000 accounts holding almost $120bn (£78bn) of assets. Many of the accounts belonged to prominent figures in business, film, music and sport, and the heads of royal families.
HSBC’s Swiss private bank:
• Routinely allowed clients to withdraw bricks of cash, often in foreign currencies of little use in Switzerland.
• Aggressively marketed schemes likely to enable wealthy clients to avoid European taxes.
• Colluded with some clients to conceal undeclared “black” accounts from their domestic tax authorities.
• Provided accounts to international criminals, corrupt businessmen and other high-risk individuals.
IRD keeps mum on Swiss tax bills
New Zealanders who savoured the privacy of their Swiss HSBC bank accounts will continue to enjoy it from Inland Revenue, which won’t reveal whether information from leaked files lifted any locals’ tax bills.
IRD confirmed yesterday it had already investigated the information in the files, which were made public this week by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and showed HSBC helped wealthy customers around the world avoid taxes and hide millions of dollars.
[there are] 110 people or entities linked to this country that had Swiss HSBC accounts holding as much as US$152 million in total in 2006/2007.
The consortium [of journalists] said that legitimate uses for Swiss bank accounts exist and it did not intend to imply those in the files had “broken the law or otherwise acted improperly”.
Don’t expect the government to spend any time looking in to this.