Wednesday 22 February 2017

Panama Papers show morals matter little - and only the little people pay their taxes

Published 05/04/2016 | 02:30

People demonstrate against Iceland's Prime Minister Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson in Reykjavik after a leak of documents stoked anger over his wife owning a tax haven-based company with large claims on the country's collapsed banks. REUTERS/Stigtryggur Johannsson
People demonstrate against Iceland's Prime Minister Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson in Reykjavik after a leak of documents stoked anger over his wife owning a tax haven-based company with large claims on the country's collapsed banks. REUTERS/Stigtryggur Johannsson

The late US hotelier and real estate investor Leona Helmsley was once overheard uttering the immortal line that paying taxes was "only for the little people".

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Of course, this bluster came back to haunt the billionaire 'Queen of the Mean' when she was jailed for filing incorrect tax returns back in the 1980s.

While Helmsley's crime was relatively unsophisticated, systems for minimising, avoiding or illegally evading tax have evolved significantly since then.

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