I’m currently spending time with my Ukrainian wife in her hometown of Mariupol, Ukraine. I have recently posted Traveling to Ukraine.
Ukraine is an example of what happens when people use what I do (asset protection) to undermine an entire economy. It’s sad. There is so much corruption here. Any successful business or politician sneaks money out of the country without paying taxes. Their tax system is the third most complicated in the world, and the ways businesses avoid paying taxes are legal. Meanwhile, the roads are horrible and any damage from the war with Russia over the years never gets repaired. And the people quietly and helplessly let it go.
There was an article last year in the Guardian about the companies who help shelter money from the Ukraine taxing authorities. Now a year later, nothing seems to have changed (at least from what I hear).
I never really think about the ethics of what I do. Certainly, I know how to sneak money out of a country and avoid taxing authorities. But I prefer to sleep at night and not worry about the IRS coming after me for tax evasion.
I agree with the principle that no one should be required to pay more taxes than is required by law. However, that assumes that the law requires everyone to pay some tax in some form or another. The fact that successful U.S. business people or investors can figure out how to pay little or no taxes never bothered me. I always figured they are helping the economy by creating jobs and then paying sales tax when they spending their money. The bulk of their money gets used to help the national economy somehow. Even if the non-taxed money gets used for investing in other businesses, that’s still helping the home country’s economy.
I never considered the effect of successful business people and politicians systematically taking their income out of the country without paying tax or further implementing that money to invest in the country. From what I see here in Ukraine, that’s clearly not a sustainable economic model. An economy needs some traction. Money needs to be made and then reinvested in order to make more money. It doesn’t work to simply make the money and hide it for the benefit of other countries.