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Wed Aug 1, 2012, 07:29 AM

6 Things You Should Know About the $21 Trillion the World's Richest People Are Hiding In Tax Shelter



1. Meet The Top .001%

“By our estimates, at least a third of all private financial wealth, and nearly half of all offshore wealth, is now owned by world’s richest 91,000 people– just 0.001% of the world’s population,” the report says. Those top 91,000 have about $9.8 trillion of the total estimated in this report—and fewer than ten million people account for the whole pile of cash.


2. Where's the Cash? It's Complicated

“Offshore,” according to Henry, isn't a physical location anymore—though plenty of places like Singapore and Switzerland, he notes, still specialize in providing “secure, low-tax physical residences” to the world's rich.


3. Big Bailed-Out Banks Run This Business

Just who is facilitating this process? Some familiar names surface quickly when you dig into the data: Goldman Sachs, UBS, and Credit Suisse are the top three, with Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and JP Morgan Chase all in the top ten. “We can now add this to their list of distinctions: they are key players in many havens around the globe, and key enablers of the global tax injustice system,” the report notes.

4. Inequality Is Worse Than We Thought

With all this wealth hidden around the world, impossible to count as well as to tax, the Tax Justice Network points out, it's certain that we're underestimating the amount of income and wealth inequality we have. Stewart Lansley, author of The Cost of Inequality , told Heather Stewart at the Guardian : "There is absolutely no doubt at all that the statistics on income and wealth at the top understate the problem."

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