Have the passport, pay the tax

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The Wealth Bulletin (what a grotty title) notes:

Financial advisers are starting to refer to their wealthiest clients as billionaire nomads -- those who globe-trot between homes to avoid direct taxes from any country.

Ultra-high net worth families have always been mobile, but the crackdown on offshore accounts is making them even more so. A few have even taken to living on megayachts, apparently deciding that pirates on the high seas are less of a risk than dodging the remorseless embrace of tax authorities.

The wealthy are turning peripatetic as a result of the tougher attitude toward offshore bank accounts. This gathered pace last week with the deal between the tax haven of Liechtenstein and the U.K., which involves 5,000 British investors with accounts in the Principality being told to come clean in return for limited penalties.

Many wealthy families will want to avoid these types of difficulties by swapping offshore accounts for residency in lower tax jurisdictions, or even seeking permanent nonresidency.

Which is precisely why I have, for some time, advocated a passport basis of taxation for the UK. The message would be simple: if you have the passport you pay tax on your worldwide income unless tax resident in a state with a full double tax agreement with the UK (which is why we should give them sparingly) .

To give up the passport you would have to break all ties with the UK — including any right to return. OK, European cooperation would be needed on that, but I don’t see it as being hard to secure.

Not many would do that.

It may seem extreme, but it isn’t: these people are not stateless; they’re free-riders seeking to abuse the rest of us. That means we should tackle them head on because there’s not a shadow of a doubt that we’ll be better off without them if they don’t pay their way.

As for the notion that they ‘add value’ reflect on this: when was the last time that someone added value by dealing with someone who refused to pay what they owed?