The Rich Sure Do Cheat On Their Taxes a Lot

A team of researchers has combined disclosures from the Panama Papers with administrative tax data and population records in Scandinavia and finds that “tax evasion rises sharply with wealth.” The rich do this primarily by parking wealth in Switzerland and other tax havens. I don’t think this comes as a surprise to anyone, but the size of the tax evasion might:

Of course, this is just for those infamous scofflaws in Denmark, Sweden, and Norway. American zillionaires are probably a lot more honest, don’t you think?

POSTSCRIPT: Snark aside, personal tax rates are pretty high in Scandinavia—though not as high as urban legend has it. Still, their high rates do provide a bigger incentive to hide wealth overseas, so it’s possible that American tax evasion is lower than it is in Scandinavia. I wouldn’t bet on it, though.


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend