The superwealthy disproportionately evade taxes

Very wealthy people may be hiding even more assets from tax authorities than previously estimated, research suggests. Recent leaks of individual account information, including the release of the Panama Papers and leaked information from the Swiss subsidiary of the bank HSBC are making it possible to get a more accurate picture of who evades taxes, and how much wealth they conceal.

Using leaks and data from tax-evasion amnesty programs to study tax evasion in Scandinavia, “we find that the top 0.01 percent of the wealth distribution—a group that includes households with more than $45 million in net wealth—evades about 25 to 30 percent of its personal income and wealth taxes,” write researchers Annette Alstadsæter of the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Niels Johannesen of the University of Copenhagen, and Gabriel Zucman of the University of California at Berkeley. Overall, 3 percent of personal taxes are evaded in Scandinavia, but the number

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