"There must have been tax havens ever since civilization began, because there is no civilization that did not tax. Early America was a haven to Europeans, including the Dutch and Spanish, as well as the English colonies. Historians claim that more Europeans emigrated to America to avoid Europe’s hated taxes than for any other reason. America was thus the first tax haven in the modern period." ~ Charles Adams
Charles Adams is a legendary tax specialist and historian. His book For Good and Evil ranks as among the most influential policy works of the late 20th century. It revealed the largely unknown history of how high taxation has wrecked peace and prosperity from the ancient world to the present, and how tax revolts have been the hidden motivation behind many great political upheavals.
Taxation has been Adam’s journalistic and academic beat for his entire life. This is why Laissez Faire Books is honored to be the publisher of another wonderful book by Adams. In Tax-Haven Tales, Adams reveals his firsthand knowledge of life in the tax-haven world throughout the 1970s and 1980s, peeling back the curtain to show the workings of a world that very few people will ever otherwise discover.
Adam’s extremely valuable book is the most thorough, most authoritative and certainly the most entertaining account of life in tax havens to ever appear in print. You will be intrigued at the financial high jinks common in this secret world, and how the very rich navigate its dangerous but profitable waters.
The 1970s and ’80s were the salad days of tax havens, and wealthy Americans were flocking to them as means of escaping the confiscatory rates of taxation in the United States. Adams’ book gives you an inside look at the “Wild West” of finance that continues to draw interest today.
His account of financial life in the Bahamas and Cayman Islands and beyond is drawn from firsthand experience — he was called upon to handle many accounts in these years — and he shares some amazing stories for the first time.
The subtitle is “Kooks, Crooks and Con Men” because there were (and probably are) plenty operating in hopes of bamboozling the super rich out of their money. In Adam’s account, they were often very successful! As Adams puts it, “life in tax havens is like the days of our grandparents and great-grandparents when taxes were few and government was limited, when you had to fend for yourself and keep your guard up.”
At the same time, Adams argues that tax havens have always been with us, even since the ancient world, and serve an extremely crucial function of preserving wealth in times when governments are otherwise determined to destroy it.
Many people have heard of offshore banks and wondered whether it is really a viable option for protecting wealth. In fact, many people were shocked at the news that Mitt Romney himself keeps offshore accounts, as do many major American corporations.
Is there a case for cracking down on them? Adams says absolutely not. He covers the government’s extremely wicked and pointless war on tax havens during these years. Governments pressured banks to open up and end the secrecy, rat out those who were using the banks for illicit purposes, and cooperate more closely with tax authorities in the United States. This ended many major advantages of tax havens, and yet some remain to this day.
Adams praises their role in history but adds a cautionary note: buyer beware! Governments aren’t the only institutions that make a business out of confidence games and outright stealing.
Tax-Haven Tales will introduce you to a wild, exciting, and crazy world that you might never otherwise encounter.