Panama Papers: Wyden wants a closer look at Nevada and Wyoming shell companies. There are over 1,000 shell companies in Nevada and 24 in Wyoming with ties to the Panamanian law firm, Mossack Fonseca, and top Senate Finance Committee Democrat Ron Wyden wants the two states to tell Congress about them. Says Wyden, “As shell companies can be abused for tax evasion, government fraud, and terrorist financing, Congress needs to work with the states and the administration to investigate the issue and take any necessary action.”
Japan and Canada have plans, too…. Japan will propose measures to fight tax evasion at the Group of Seven summit in two weeks. The G7 includes Japan, the US, United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, and Italy. Canada’s revenue department is reviewing the Panama Papers database for tax cheats. Revenue Minister Diane Lebouthillier says criminal charges will be filed against them, if at all possible.
In Russia…another view entirely. President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman said, “The Panama Papers are stolen documents. We need to call things by their real names,” noting that it is legal in Russia to use offshore accounts. More than 6,000 individuals and more than 11,000 Russian corporate entities have ties to Mossack Fonseca. In 2014 Putin proposed a capital amnesty program for funds brought back to Russia.
And at home, give Trump a break. At least TPC’s Howard Gleckman thinks so. Howard wonders why Trump is getting hammered for acknowledging reality—Congress will never pass his nearly $10 trillion tax cut plan as-is. Trump is distinguishing between what he says he wants, and what he thinks he’s going to get. Not that hard to figure out.
The Senate passes a miscellaneous tariff bill. For years, lawmakers helped individual companies by getting Congress to grant them temporary relief from tariffs. But House Republicans banned the practice as part of their war on earmarks. Congress’s solution: Require the US International Trade Commission to sign off on company requests.
Worth noting: African nations are hemorrhaging revenue from tax breaks for major multinationals. ActionAid, a British non-governmental organization, finds 60 percent of the continent’s financial loopholes are related to multinational tax breaks. The African Union estimates the revenue loss at about $49 billion a year, while the International Monetary Fund says it’s closer to three times that amount.
Meanwhile there’s a presidential campaign in full swing in France. If elected next year, presidential hopeful Alain Juppe would repeal the nation’s wealth tax, reduce payroll taxes by €10 billion and cut corporate taxes by €11 billion. He’d also cut public spending by €80 to €100 billion over five years. increase France's 35-hour work week to 39 hours, and raise the retirement age from 62 to 65.
And today, a Puerto Rico debt bill hits the Hill. House Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop of Utah wants to make the bill public today and expects a committee vote next week. The bill would establish an outside fiscal control board for the island and gives it the power to restructure the island’s debt. No federal dollars would go to Puerto Rico.
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