Not everyone who uses offshore vehicles is a crook. But the main takeaway from the Panama and the Paradise Papers, published again by the Guardian and media partners in November, is that the offshore industry is not a minor, shadowy part of our economic system: it is the system. The burden of taxation has moved away from multinational corporations and the rich to ordinary people. Offshore has made this happen. We – those of us who pay our taxes – are the dupes.
No, it’s the other way around., The vast majority of those who use offshore are not crooks. Instead, they’re – if they’re from the more turbulent areas of the world – those trying to protect their property from their own government. Or, as with those funds of David Cameron’s father, people struggling to make sure that people from different tax regimes can all obey those different tax regimes.
You know, they all were paying tax?
As to the burden of taxation moving away – corporation tax has never been a large portion of the economy in the first place. A few percentage points of GDP, no more. It’s been a larger portion of the tax take, true, but then that was back when the tax take was a smaller amount of GDP. And as to taxation moving away from the rich – the portion of income tax coming from the rich is at record highs in both the US and UK currently.