Final countdown!

The final countdown to the collapse of the tax-haven industry! Why are offshorers
in trouble and what are their options? A must-read book if you are currently
using tax havens.

Offshore Apocalypse is required reading for anyone who is currently invested in tax havens. It is also strongly recommended for their attorneys, bankers, consultants and even their business partners – any of whom may unwittingly find themselves caught up in money-laundering investigations.

Take a look at this list of countries. If a taxpayer is the Ultimate Beneficial Owner (UBO) of a bank account in a country marked “September 2017,” then the bank is required to report account data beginning 1 January 2016 to the tax authority of the UBO’s home country as of September, 2017. If “September 2018” appears after the country’s name, then the bank must report account data beginning 1 January 2017 to the relevant tax authority as of September 2018. This gives UBOs a one-year window to perform a self-audit or to ask for an amnesty (if their home country has such a program available.) It is crucial that UBOs take advantage of one of these options since the Common Reporting Standard (CRS) makes it practically impossible to transfer offshore accounts to other locations.

The CRS calls on national authorities to obtain information from financial institutions in their jurisdictions and automatically exchange that information with tax officials in other countries on an annual basis. It stipulates the kinds of account data to be exchanged, the financial institutions required to report, and the different types of accounts and taxpayers covered.

Offshore Apocalypse: The Collapse of the Tax Haven Industry delivers a jolt of reality to people who have sunk their money into the multi-trillion dollar offshore tax-shelter business. This timely and incisive book exposes the tax haven industry for what it truly is – a vehicle for fraud. It lays bare the falsehoods that offshore promoters use to lure in clients – namely, that shell companies based in tax havens are a perfectly legal way for people to avoid tax obligations in their home countries. The book follows the fate of people who have taken these promises at face value – from the boardrooms of multinational companies to the prison cells where hundreds of them sit today.

People instinctively steer clear of dodgy salesmen trying to bamboozle them into buying used cars or vacation property. So why is it that educated people fail to apply the same skepticism when someone offers them a chance to save on taxes through odd-named companies in obscure Caribbean islands or Alpine hamlets? Especially when taking advantage of such offers can bring criminal charges and jail time?

This book does not promote the use of tax haven structures, but rather explains why using such companies is entirely illegal. The author became alarmed by the number of clients he encountered who wanted to optimise their taxes by setting up fake companies in foreign tax havens. These firms would be nothing but mailboxes at addresses that might be shared by hundreds of other corporations whose owners are also trying to dodge taxes.

The author explains, in plain English, why tax-haven abuse is illegal. In many cases, the practice should have been considered illegal long ago, but state authorities have not enforced the law effectively. The author proves the illegality of offshore schemes by dissecting international tax conventions authored by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development as well as judgments handed down by national courts, the European Court of Justice and other judicial bodies. He backs up his findings through hundreds of links to legal documents, academic analyses, court rulings and news articles.

Readers will discover:

  • Why has public anger over the 2008 financial crisis forced world governments to launch an aggressive crackdown on people who avoid taxes through offshore schemes?
  • Why has the centuries-old institution of bank secrecy collapsed in countries where such a scenario was inconceivable just a few years ago? How was this collapse triggered by the decision of an American tax evader and a Swiss lawyer to enter into a plea-bargain agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice? How did these events give rise to the U.S. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA)? How did FATCA serve as a model for the Common Reporting Standard (CRS), a multilateral agreement that has been signed by more than 100 countries? Why will the CRS inhibit the tax haven industry?
  • Why may countries with developed law-enforcement systems treat offshore "tax planning" as a form of money laundering – and charge offenders as part of criminal organisations?

Clearly, the business environment in which offshore promoters and banks operate is becoming increasingly hostile to tax evasion, particularly in Europe. By June 2017, all European Union member states will be required to implement the Fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive. This directive stipulates companies registered in any EU member state must publish details about their UBOs in a public database. The only logical solution for 99 percent of offshorers will be the immediate closure of their bank accounts and cessation of activity. The remaining 1 percent may find it worthwhile to continue "tax planning” using foreign companies, but only if their corporate group is profitable enough to spend several million dollars a year to operate legitimate companies in foreign jurisdictions – not mailbox firms run by nominees.

“Tax advantage” cannot be the sole justification for creating this kind of multinational construction; the offshore company must carry out some kind of rational economic activity. It must always be ready to prove – in the worst case, in a court of law – that it has a clear and present goal that justifies operating in the tax-advantaged jurisdiction. If these requirements are satisfied, then all the company needs to do is meet the bookful of conditions spelt out in Offshore Apocalypse.

The book’s title succinctly sums up its core message: The age of offshore transactions, which have become commonplace in the past few decades, is coming to an end, as is the conveyor belt-style production of offshore companies that facilitate tax evasion. GAME OVER!

The good news is, the book outlines solutions for people who find themselves facing charges related to tax-haven abuse. They should carefully consider their options – before it is too late.

If you assume that your tax structures and business operations do not fully comply with the strictures of the new age of transparency, your assumption is probably right.

In this case, click to the “IF YOU ARE A UBO OR PROMOTER” tab on the right.