Edited by Iain Hay and Jonathan V. Beaverstock
Chapter 20: Super-rich capitalism: managing and preserving private wealth management in the offshore world
In the post-2008 era of managing the political economy of austerity, offshore financial centres (OFCs) have once again come under the spotlight, but this time scrutiny has been from both the academy and national governments, mainly in OECD countries, who are critically examining their ‘secrecy’ and role as ‘tax havens’ (see Hampton and Christensen, 2002; Maurer, 2008; Palan et al., 2010; Sikka and Willmott, 2010; Shaxson, 2012). Importantly, national governments are not only putting organizations that use OFCs as ‘corporate taxation havens’ under the microscope (see The Guardian, 2013), but they are also exposing the secrecy, opaqueness and non-compliance in personal taxation that have shrouded the OFCs’ nexus of private banking and private wealth management. From the late 2000s, the USA and UK especially, have put the issue of ‘super-rich’ personal tax minimalism high on the political agenda as their respective revenue agencies, the Internal Revenue Service and Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs, seek to collect personal income tax from their citizens who have investments in private banks or other wealth management institutions. The introduction of the USA’s Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) in 2010, which mandated banks to share the personal taxation information on their US citizens, has paved the way for other OECD countries to seek global data sharing on banking secrecy (The Financial Times, 2014a).
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