Target: President Barack Obama
Goal: End the United States’ complacency in global tax evasion.
The recently released Panama Papers revealed that hundreds of world leaders and prominent businesspeople have been using a Panamanian law firm to hide their money and avoid paying taxes. This widespread tax evasion is unacceptable as it drives a bigger gap between the rich and the poor. The wealthy must pay their fair share; we must take action to end tax avoidance.
Even though all eyes are on Panama right now, we cannot forget that the United States has a major role to play in ending global tax evasion. The Tax Justice Network found that the United States is actually one of the biggest tax havens in the world — bigger than Panama and the Cayman Islands. States like Delaware, Nevada, and Wyoming make it incredibly easy to create anonymous shell corporations to hide wealth, and the federal government does nothing to stop them.
The global Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has a potential solution global tax evasion: a program where countries will automatically share information on financial accounts with each other. However, the United States is the only country that has refused to participate in OECD’s information sharing program. As long as the United States refuses to participate, the problem of global tax evasion will not be solved.
The United States must practice what it preaches. U.S. leaders cannot continue to condemn countries like Panama for preserving financial secrecy, while the United States is doing the same. Sign the petition below to encourage President Obama to end this hypocrisy.
Dear President Obama,
As you are already aware, the recently released Panama Papers have revealed how hundreds of world leaders and businesspeople have been hiding their money in Panama. You have said that the United States must “lead by example” in order to slow the “illicit movement of funds around the world.”
The United States is currently not setting a good example. You may not be aware that the Tax Justice Network found in 2015 that the United States is the third biggest tax haven in the world. If you are unaware of this, you do not set a good example for other world leaders. You must acknowledge the illicit activity taking place within your own country, and you must take action to stop it.
In order to “lead by example,” the United States should agree to the provisions of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s financial information sharing program. This program will prevent global tax evasion by automatically sending tax information to all participating countries, so that people cannot hide their money overseas. Almost 100 countries have agreed to participate in this program. It is puzzling why the United States has refused.
This is by far not the only step that the United States can take in solving this problem, but it is a major step. The United States must prove that it is ready and willing to take action against this problem — not just talk about doing so.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Brian Glanz