Tax havens are fences for thieves

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The Business Spectator in Australia has said:

Tax havens are to those engaged in tax evasion what fences are to thieves. Tax evasion is a crime. It's not harmless cleverness and fun; it's theft from the community you live in.

Those who engage in it, and those who facilitate it, are criminals.

It is time that the more determined, if not yet sufficiently aggressive, attitude and actions of the civilised world towards money laundering is extended to tax evasion through off-shore tax havens and the corrupt states/entities that live off this trade.

I would add much of what is called tax avoidance by those operating in tax havens is tax evasion: it may be avoidance in their state but it is evasion in the place in which their client lives. Tax havens simply chose not to consider that end of the transaction. This is deliberate. As Prince Alois of Liechtenstein has said:

We just don't ask continuously questions like a nanny: 'Have you paid your taxes every year?' I think this can't be our role."

There are just two things wrong with that. First of all, he is duty bound to ask that question. All banks the world over are duty bound to ask that question because it is the only way they will know that their clients are not money laundering. Non-payment of tax is, after all money laundering.

Second, by refusing to ask that question you're pretending that the structure you created which is only designed to have effect outside your own state is not your responsibility when used there. Oh yes it is. That's exactly what the world is now saying.

And all tax havens should be listening. Very hard. They're all guilty of this. They can only get away with it because of the secrecy that they use to cover their tracks. And in the future that is going to be in short supply.