I want to recommend a book that should be of interest to all IBS contributors/readers:
Nicholas Shaxson, Treasure Islands: Tax Havens and the Men Who Stole the World. London, 2011.
[editors note: zuludogm has also provided a review of this book]
FATCA and other US initiatives are meant to curtail tax evasion through off-shore tax havens. Or, so we are led to believe. Shaxson shows, with ample documentation, that the US and the UK are the biggest tax havens in the world. Foreigners (“non-resident aliens” in tax lingo) can maintain tax-free savings and investment accounts in the US. Anti-tax evasion measures taken by the US are chiefly aimed at preventing US citizens utilizing tax evasion strategies intended to attract non-US investment.
The best-known off-shore tax havens (Cayman Islands, Jersey, etc.), former British dependencies for the most part, far from being a problem for the US, are now useful for the laundering of dirty money destined for investment in New York or The City. After all, it wouldn’t do for an African cabinet minister or a South American drug dealer to walk into Chase Manhatten with trunks full of money.
Although he does not address FATCA (FATCA was passed after the book was written) Shaxson demonstrates the hypocracy behind US practice.
The book has a dedicated website: