Bill Gates and other wealthy individuals around the world do pay taxes--but usually at rates far below what most taxpayers pay. As Warren Buffet says, his secretary pays a higher tax rate than he does on his multi-million dollar income. And most big corporations have mastered the art of paying next to nothing in taxes.
Many experts and financial journalists dismiss the idea that higher taxes for rich people and large corporations would make a difference to government revenues. Even Bill Gates's personal fortune wouldn't make a dent in the huge US government deficit. But Harvard-trained economist and tax expert Brigitte Alepin has a different point of view.
Relying on her in-depth knowledge of tax systems in Canada, the US, France, and elsewhere, Alepin provides a behind-the-scenes explanation of what has happened to create a massive gap in government revenues. Over the last twenty years, large corporations, the super-rich, and private foundations have found many ways and means to avoid being taxed. This black hole in government revenues-found in virtually every country-accounts for trillions of dollars in lost revenue every year. As Alepin demonstrates using data drawn from leading international organizations, those missing trillions would go a long way towards allowing the world's governments to balance their books.
Collecting taxes from big corporations and the super-rich cannot be done by any one country alone. But with governments of all political stripes facing this common problem, there are concrete steps they can take together to address it. Ensuring that wealthy individuals and corporations pay their fair share in taxes would not result in ruinously high rates. Instead, it would mean that the super-rich and corporations would pay their fair share of taxes at rates that would reflect their true ability to pay.
Brigitte Alepin shows how a fair tax system for Bill Gates and for the world's richest individuals and corporations can be the answer to the financial crisis the world faces today.