Last week, I pointed out how Microsoft had cut their tax rate on corporate profits from 25% in FY 2010 to 7% in 2011 by claiming to make most of its profits in places like Puerto Rico. A reader writes:
George Soros is another example of tax arbitrage. He has benefited from running his hedge fund in offshore jurisdictions while maintaining research offices in NYC.
Similar to MSFT – “we just research in NY, the money manages itself from overseas accounts.”
I’d guess there’s something in dodd-frank about ending these loopholes.
With soros, it’s particularly egregious because he uses his excess wealth to argue for big government policies in the US.
If Obama wants tax increases – how about retroactive taxes?
I would be sympathetic to an investment firm that actually does its work on an island somewhere. I once expected that investment firms would relocate to Hawaii because it’s paradise and for certain types of investing, being halfway between the Asian and American time zones might be convenient. But that really hasn’t happened.
My sneaking suspicion is that all this talk about the information superhighway and how you could be anywhere in the world and make above market returns just by looking at your computer screen is naive. To consistently make above market returns, it helps to have sources of inside information. And that depend heavily upon trust-building face to face contact and/or body language that can’t be used to convict even if one party is wearing a wire. So, the high end investment business has not been spreading to many new locations.