Wednesday, May 18, 2016



 

If we want to stop this, there are some steps that we can take. 

In the wake of the Panama Papers revelations, the obvious one is to increase transparency with respect to shell companies, and not take comfort in the fact that (so far) there seem to have been relatively few high-profile US celebrities like film director Pedro Almodóvar or footballer Lionel Messi whose names have popped up on the documents. US citizens may use other law firms, or other options

Congress has demonstrated it wants to crack down on average individual taxpayers. New rules mean that anyone owing the IRS more than $50,000 won’t be able to renew their passports and could have their passports revoked. Congress could go a step further, passing legislation that would require states to insist that real owners of shell companies disclose their names. 

The Incorporation Transparency and Law Enforcement Assistance Act, which would require states to collect information about the true owners and controllers of shell companies, is just sitting there, waiting for someone to act. Delaware, Nevada and other states that are making it so easy to set up shell company shops may object. But the Panama Papers have thrown the shell game into disarray and now is the time to act. Then, perhaps, we could move forward in creating a global registry of companies – another step in insisting that ultra-wealthy global citizens live in the same kind of transparent world that most of the rest of us already do.



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