It has been both compelling and disturbing to observe from a distance the pursuit of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and the attempts by various under-seige governments to try and shut down his ground breaking whistle-blowing website.
Whilst much could be said about the wider issue of freedom of speech (and the importance of maintaining it) the message that this sends in no uncertain terms is that the governments who have been most heavily hit by the banking crisis are now prepared to go to hitherto unseen lengths to try and shore up their shaky positions.
Already President Obama has made it clear that in his view the “tax havens” are at least partly to blame for the current banking crisis.
The bottom line is that big government is now under huge pressure to reduce spending and increase revenue collections… which means the affairs of those using or connected to low tax or zero tax companies offshore are going to be watched closer than ever before.
This places notions of professional structuring and company management at the forefront of issues that offshore company owners need to consider closely moving forward.
It’s interesting to note that former Crocodile Dundee star Paul Hogan has just won a long standing battle against the Australian Tax Office (they elected to discontinue proceedings against him for alleged tax evasion after conceding that insufficient evidence existed to prove that he had broken the law). At the core of his success was the fact that the various structures he had set in place to legitimately try and minimize taxes payable on the success of his movie trilogy had been carefully thought out and put together by a team of tax and financial professionals.
Whilst the law governing this area differs from country to country a good starting point for many is to note that an offshore company can potentially avoid being taxed onshore if it is (and is seen to be) managed and controlled from offshore.
If you not sure what this entails, or whether your IBC meets this basic benchmark, it’s probably time speak to your professional advisers….