Offshore banking itself isn’t illegal, but hiding assets is. Most governments would rather have all their people’s wealth in the country where they can see it, tax it, and benefit from it.

When does banking offshore become illegal? If you have money, other forms of wealth or assets, or taxable property offshore without declaring it to the tax authority where you reside or where you are liable for income, capital gains, or corporate taxes, you could be acting illegally. People cannot legally report only certain information about finances. They have to declare all taxable income and pay the required taxes.

Nowadays, there is a massive pressure on financial institutions in every offshore center todisclose information when tax avoidance is suspected. Money laundering through offshore banks is equally illegal. Money laundering is big business for some of the world’s most dangerous criminals, including those committing drug crimes or acts of terrorism. The goal is tomake illegally obtained funds appear legitimate. If you’re not a criminal and pay taxes on themoney, offshore banking is not immoral.

What is immoral, however, is the obscene tax plan the GOP is pushing with its massive giveaway to the richest one percent of Americans. The excuse is that the money the wealthy save in taxes will “trickle down” and grow the economy, thereby helping the poor and middle class. It has not worked in the past when Reagan’s administration tried it, and it will not work in the future either. The wealthy will always choose to invest where they will gain the highest return on their money. That is not typically in the U.S. If “trickle-down economics” had worked in the past, there would be no need for offshore accounts to hide wealth because criminals aren’t the only ones benefitting from those accounts. The richest one percent are as well, and their success is forged on the backs of the poor and elderly who have not reaped the benefits from tax cuts for the wealthy in the past, which were passed on the promise that the wealth would “trickle down.”

Where does patriotism begin and end for the richest one percent and the politicians who enable them? Since when is it okay to ignore the majority of U.S. citizens for the benefit of a few?

Marianne Chacon
Virgin Valley Action Group