Tax Breaks in Paradise

Tax Breaks in Paradise


What do HUD Secretary Ben Carson, billionaire investor Carl Icahn, U2 frontman Bono and the Queen of England have in common? They’ve all been named in the Paradise Papers, a massive trove of documents detailing how some of the world wealthiest and most powerful people use offshore tax havens to reduce their taxes or hide ownership of assets.

The documents, released by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists this past weekend, name more than 120 business and political leaders, including several in the orbit of the Trump administration, connected to more than 200,000 offshore tax shelters.

Democrats were quick to argue that the documents prove the existing tax system is tilted toward the wealthy, and that Republicans should halt their tax reform effort until they can address the use of offshore tax havens.

Some critics were particularly concerned about the revelation that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross shares an ownership stake in a shipping company linked to a Russian firm whose owners include Vladimir Putin’s son-in-law. The leak could be a dual problem for Republicans, as their opponents turn to the papers to raise doubts about both the new tax plan and the Trump administration’s connections to Russian businessmen.