The kingdoms now subject to King Charles III include a Spider web tax havens and secret jurisdictions which, together with American, Asian and European havens, allow taxpayers to hide 32 trillion dollars of taxation. This cross-border tax evasion leads public treasuries around the world to lose $483 billion in tax revenue each year – $312 billion from multinational corporations and $171 billion from ultra-rich individuals.
This devastating drain on public resources, if reversed into a new source of revenue, could contribute significantly to the 7 trillion dollars needed each year to achieve the United Nations goals Sustainable Development Goalswhich constitute “a universal call to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure shared peace and prosperity”.
Commendable outspokenness about climate resilience while he was crown prince, Charles must now use his bullying pulpit to urge Parliament to close ‘the British spider’s web’. With the financial district known worldwide as the “City of London” at its centre, the spider’s web collects and secretes funds that are vital to advancing the public good and protecting our planet.
The city and the spider’s web
As Britain’s global empire crumbled during the 20th century, personal affection for Queen Elizabeth slowed the decolonization process, but financial greed has accelerated a remarkable transformation of the City of London. Not to be confused with Greater London, whose population of 9 million is ruled by Mayor Sadiq Khan, the City of London is a semi-independent medieval state within the modern British state. With a population of 9,000, ruled by Lord Mayor Vincent Keaveny, it is commonly referred to as “the city” by financiers across the British Commonwealth.
For centuries, the City has been workingbeyond authority of parliament, [undermining] all attempts to curb the excesses of finance. The City tapped into the vast financial network of the British Empire. But as the empire shrank, its people turned relations with former colonies into a shadow empire of financial misbehavior.
Investigative journalist Nick Shaxson reveals how the city turned into “Wall Street’s giant escape route checks and balances of US financial regulation; provider of “endless loopholes for US financial corporations”; operator of a spider’s web of satellite tax havens (“simply booking offices: semi-fictitious way stations on secret routes through accountants’ exercise books”); silver extractor instead of natural resources from former colonies; and allows the “elite to do things – often nasty – that would not be allowed at home”.
King Charles should know about the misdeeds of the City. Almost a decade ago, Queen Elizabeth has been warned that “Great Britain, in partnership with Her Majesty’s Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies, [is] by far the most important part of the global offshore system of tax havens and secrecy jurisdictions.
The City of London plays an outsized role in catalyzing business and individual engagement with the tax haven countries that are named, shamed and ranked in the Tax Justice Network’s annual report. Financial Secrecy Index. Top of the list in 2022: the United States of America.
The Spider’s Web and the USA Tax Haven
Tax havens like the British spider’s web “are engaged in economic waragainst the United States, reported late Senator Carl Levin following a long surveys industry abuse of tax avoidance. treasury secretary Janet Yellen points out that corruption flows both ways: “the best place to hide and launder ill-gotten gains is actually the United States” because, as Bloomberg reports“The United States is the most complicit nation in helping individuals hide their wealth.”
The hosts of this economic war are not only national governments. cannibal subnational state governments– including Delaware, Nevada, South Dakota and Wyoming – help make Tax Haven USA the most pernicious secret jurisdiction in the world.
Billionaire King Tax Obligation
Elizabeth is mourned by millions (including me, as my grandfather grew up on the grounds of Windsor Castle Big park during his grandfather’s reign.) But the queen has her critics, as does her son. Tax critics wonder if England’s first billionaire king must pay inheritance tax on the $ 950 million Duchy of Lancaster, part of the royal family $28 billion Crown domain. (The answer is no.) They asked if he and his late mother had to pay personal income tax – in fact, they negotiated an agreement. They noted that Charles was accused of tax evasion and that the Panama Papers revealed Elizabeth’s personal use of the spider’s web.
The more important question, however, is global: will King Charles III meet the moment on climate and corruption?
As the Queen’s loyal subjects and her fickle fanboys go through performative public mourning rituals, her son is expected to honor his mother through action. He is expected to mobilize public opinion to pressure the UK Parliament to investigate, expose and close the cobweb of global tax avoidance controlled by financiers fostering corruption within the City of London, which has been shamefully allowed to prosper during the long reign of Charles’ mother.
My goal in this new column is to elevate public discourse on the public interest implications of international, U.S. federal, and U.S. state and local tax policy across types of taxes. I will explore corporate and personal income tax, commodity tax, property tax, etc. The three main areas of focus for this section will be: tax justice (critical tax theory topics like genre, raceand wealth); social harm (subjects to taxation of externalities such as climate, public safety and public health); and tax evasion (avoidants, hosts, enablers, their schemes and, dear to my heart, the “beneficial ownership transparency” solution). I hope you will join me on this bi-weekly journey to (re)think taxation.
This is a regular column of public interest tax policy analyst Don Griswold, who is also a senior researcher at the Digital Economist. Look for Griswold’s column on Bloomberg Tax and follow him on LinkedIn.