Friday, February 29, 2008

Tax abuse at its worst - when tax authorities steal

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According to an article in the Sydney Morning Herald on 1st March 2008, the Australian tax office is using information from a thief to mount an investigation into the tax affairs of some wealthy Australians. This is quite the paradox because it seems that Australia is providing political asylum to a German man who allegedly stole private information.

The disclosure comes as a result of the German government paying a former employee of a large Liechtenstein bank more than $6 million to provide a DVD with the bank account details for wealthy people. The German authorities were of course pursuing tax evaders, but they have since offered the information of citizens from other countries to their respective tax authorities. As a consequence some 20 wealthy Australians are being scrutinised for tax evasion by the Australian Tax Office after squirreling away up to millions each in undisclosed offshore bank accounts.

Heinrich Kieber, the alleged thief who is accused of stealing the private information has apparently fled to Australia to escape retribution from those he exposed. The German authorities has offered to share the bank account details on the DVD with any interested foreign government. The British tax authorities have already paid over $200,000 for information on 100 of Britain's richest families. The Australian Taxation Commissioner, Michael D'Ascenzo, refuses to confirm its sources but says that Australian investigations into tax avoidance had been under way well before the German raids. These investigations are part of a broader crackdown by the ATO on rich Australians seeking to avoid paying taxes by hiding money in several offshore tax havens. Yeh right. It must be so easy given that the German government had to resort to financing criminals to obtain the information.

The Australian government no doubt sees this as an opportunity to apply the ‘big stick’ to tax evaders. Under an amnesty, it is offering to reduce the penalties on those who voluntarily disclose their income or assets in offshore bank accounts. The ATO has already received 425 statutory declarations from people disclosing $17 million in offshore income. The Australian Tax Commissioner, Mr D'Ascenzo urged others with hidden incomes to come forward before it was "too late", warning they would otherwise face "the full force of the law". He said:

Well this is the ultimate threat rearing the ugly head of the tax office. You don’t hear about the threat, but here it is, the threat of slavery, guns, financial penalty and prison sentences. Australia has signed a tax treaty with Germany that allows for the exchange of information. But does that treaty permit Australia to benefit from stolen information? I want to know who the lawyer is for these 20 Australians. I want to help them fight the tax authories on this. This is EVIL at its worst!

Tax administrators in Canada, France, Italy, New Zealand, Sweden, Britain and US are also working together to identify accounts being used for tax evasion in Liechtenstein. The chief executive of Taxpayers Australia, Tony Greco, said the revelation would help entice fuller disclosure from wealthy Australians with bank accounts offshore. Clearly Taxpayers Australia is morally bankrupt or not an organisation that defends the interests of Australians.

More pressing are the legal ramifications of these actions for several reasons:

1. We have the governments of several governments profiting from the receipt of stolen information

2. We have the German government directly involved in providing support for private citizens of another country for theft of private information

3. We have numerous tax offices demanding that foreign banks disclose information on their respective citizens but they seem unprepared to disclose where their information comes from. Where is the accountability.

As a proud tax evader I fully support the efforts of these people to evade tax. Tax is no less evil than slavery, and these repugnant tax authorities are acting without contrition. Intimidation is being applied at its worst. There is no ethical framework that allows a person who opposes taxation to seek redress in the courts. Reason is not the standard of value, and until it is, then rational people have no recourse before the law. Tax law derives from legislation, and thus is held above Common Law that would otherwise protect these people. Ask yourself why this is possible. It serves the interests of politicians.

It occurred to me as an after-thought that these Western tax authorities have no intent of taking these rich people to prison. Its not about prosecuting criminals, its about setting an example. The tax authorities know that these rich people are well resourced, that they could be fighting these criminals in the courts for years, and that their cases will be thrown out of court. The tax authorities are not targeting these 20 Australians, they are targeting the 100,000 other Australians with assets offshore. The best way to do that is to have a 'show of force', to set an example. Dictators have been doing it for years to ensure compliance. And Australians are cowardly enough to accept this state of affairs, and unprincipled and unthinking enough to accept it. Its enough enough to look back at its convict era, but its more than being a nation founded on criminals, its a nation founded on a state support. People have always looked to government to fix problems. There has never been any great leadership as a result. Just snivelling bureaucrats and politicians who wait to see which way the electorate swings before they make a judgement. Apart from that, their loyalty lies in party loyalty, preserving the supremacy of the party, and the comfortable duopoly with the opposition.


Andrew Sheldon

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Legal defences for not paying tax

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I must first concede that you likely have little legal defense for not paying tax. It will depend on the jurisdiction in which you live, but the reality is that political systems are designed to make you pay tax, and they are prepared to use force and extortion to ensure compliance.

Having said that parts of the legal system are on your side. Consider the following:
1. Common law recognises the rights of people to freedom from coercion. Afterall they are laws against slavery are there not? The judge is likely to make a distinction between government and private slavery, but is there reason for such a distinction, given that governments comprise bad people, and people do bad things. And they are aware that governments to bad things.
2. Constitutional law might offer some protection as well. Consider that the constitution has provisions for change. The implication is that the writers of the constitution recognised that the document could be wrong. Afterall it was written 100-500 years ago, depending on your country of origin, and values have certainly changed.
3. Legislative law is perhaps the biggest threat to people, and its noteworthy that it does not sit well with Common Law. Its actually intriguing how the founders of each constitution could adopt 2 systems of law making, in as much as through interpreting the law, the Common Law process is actually making laws.

It is also readily apparent that our parliamentary system does not function as it was intended in any country. Whether you are in England, the USA, Australia or any other parliamentary democracy, parties were not foreseen to have such power. This is the same monopoly power that governments talk about legislating against, but seldom do because they have a shared alliance with business leaders in the higher echelons of power and influence.

I thus maintain that there are grounds for fighting a case based on implicit contradictions in constitutional law, whether the case rests on contradictions in the constitution or breaches in the interpretation of the constitution. The provisions within every constitution for change thus allow for change. Regardless of this provision, we can know in our own minds what is right & wrong. So at base we are campaigning for recognition that we exist in an objective reality, so logic should bare witness as it does in science. This was the hope of the constitution before the process was corrupted by the party process of consolidating power in just 2 parties.
Andrew Sheldon

How do tax authorities enforce compliance?

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The tax authorities are really not happy about enforcing the tax code. Who could be happy enforcing slavery? They are in effect accessories to a crime - at least by moral standards. Any happiness they have comes from the sense of security they get from being part of an organisation that has committed to paying their loyal disciples huge benefits.

Staying happy means treading a line line between meeting the funding requirements of their taxpayers and extorting funds from them. This is not an easy tax as you can imagine because taxpayers have very different concepts of what is fair. Some think 10% tax is enough, others think no limit should be applied.

Tax authorities realise that they are managing a public relations 'basket case'. If people dont think the system is fair, then they are inclined to move, or stop paying tax. Its actually very difficult to avoid not paying tax because of our reliance on the banking system for payments and revenue transactions. It does not make it easy that the banks are complicit with slavery, and by no means is such complicity new. It dates back to the time of the Far East Trading Companies that exhorted revenues from people under the sanction of the British monarchy.

Public relations were rather crude then. They would whip and beat you. But breaking the will or killing a citizen is not the best way to enlist a taxpayer. It encourages defiance. You want to enlist them by appealing to ethical principles that have no basis in reality, you want to make them feel apart of something great, so its encumbent on the tax collectors to speak in friendly tones. But if you dont do the same, they have legions of police to enforce court orders. Judges of course are paid under the same system as tax collectors, and thus they also have the same conflict of interest.

They need to make an example of those who breach the rules because it serves the enforcers to preserve the system. The more high profile you are, the more compelling the reasons for making you pay tax. If you are a small taxpayer, your contribution makes little difference. Havind said that, there are several reasons why everyone is a target for enforcement:
1. Bureaucrats tend to be systematic rather than commercially motivated, so they will 'cross the t's and dot the i's for the sake of being systematic.
2. Bureaucrats often focus on enforcing the tax code with smaller taxpayers so they dont have to worry about ending up in court.
3. Bureaucrats dont want to intimidate business owners because they are inclined to take their business offshore if tax authorities are too aggressive.
Andrew Sheldon

Saturday, February 2, 2008

The history of tax collection

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I am really interested in this question. Why would people accept the idea of subjugating themselves to a system of governance that reduces their rights and choices. Did they make such a choice? Did they understand the implications for their actions?That question - still to be answered

Andrew Sheldon

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