Sunday, February 18, 2007

Unmasking Offshore Tax Havens

The Washington Post reports that Carl Levin (D-MI), Norm Coleman (R-MN) and Barack Obama (D-IL), have introduced legislation to clamp down on the use of offshore tax dodges:
The legislation would require hedge funds to establish programs to combat money laundering and better track offshore investors, under guidance from the Treasury Department. The measure would also prohibit the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office from issuing patents for accounting strategies intended to "minimize, avoid, defer, or otherwise affect liability for federal, state, local, or foreign tax."
That's right sports fans, it is possible to get a U.S. patent for a tax avoidance scheme. The bill, called the Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act, would unmask the secrecy used to hide income from being legally taxed:
“None of these offshore schemes would work,” said Levin, “without the secrecy that prevents U.S. agencies from enforcing our laws. Our bill offers innovative ways to combat offshore secrecy. We can’t let the offshore tax havens hide $100 billion in U.S. tax revenues which are needed to protect our troops, fund health care and education, and meet the other needs of American families.”

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