Offshore: US tax targets
On 17 February, 2007, US Senator Carl Levin introduced the Bill known as the 'Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act'. It contains provisions aimed at combating what Levin describes as the $100bn (£56bn) per year drain on the Treasury from offshore tax abuse. When Levin introduced the Bill he did so with the stated support of two other senators: Norm Coleman and current Presidential candidate Barack Obama. In a speech in Wisconsin on 22 September, Obama said: "We lose $100bn every year because corporations get to set up mailboxes offshore so that they can avoid paying a dime of taxes in America. Imagine if you got to do that... I will shut down those offshore tax havens and corporate loopholes as President, because you shouldn't have to pay higher taxes because some big corporation cut corners to avoid paying theirs". If Obama makes it to the White House, the Bill may gather an unstoppable momentum. The Bill is not only bullish in its aim to prevent tax evasion, but also in its determination to go after its prime target: 'offshore secrecy jurisdictions' - defined as jurisdictions that have 'corporate, business, bank, or tax secrecy rules and practices which unreasonably restrict the ability of the United States to obtain information relevant to enforcement'. As well as providing a statutory framework to determine what an 'offshore secrecy jurisdiction' is, the Bill includes a blacklist of 34 countries which will, upon enactment, be automatically deemed to fall into this category. These include Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man.
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