A French economist has accused the highest-earning people in wealthy countries of evading taxes in a new paper.
Gabriel Zucman, a professor at the University of California-Berkeley, presented his findings along with two colleagues.
"Tax evasion is really concentrated at the top of the income distribution," Zucman told the Chicago Tribune.
Zucman said the super-rich have access to services that can help them hide their money in offshore accounts, which contributes to tax evasion.
"There's a big industry providing wealth management services for the super-wealthy all over the world," Zucman said. "Once you cross a certain threshold of over $50 million, you get offered those services. Wealth inequality is probably rising more than we thought."
"While the probability to deliberately evade taxes found in random audits is generally low and does not rise with wealth past the 95th percentile, the probability to hide wealth offshore rises very steeply within the top one percent," Zucman wrote in the paper. "Combining random audits and leaks, we estimate that the top 0.01% of the wealth distribution — a group that includes households with more than $40 million in net wealth — evades about 30% of its personal income and wealth taxes. This is an order of magnitude more than the average evasion rate of about 2%."
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