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Jewish World Review March 31, 2002 / 18 Nisan, 5762

Art Buchwald

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Consumer Reports

Safe Deposit for Sale | Some of the largest and most patriotic American companies are incorporating in the Caribbean to avoid paying income taxes. Billions of dollars are being deposited in such places as the Cayman Islands and Bermuda.

The slogan for the companies is: "Our stockholders, right or wrong."

There is such a rush on overseas deposit boxes that they are sought after by everyone. As soon as one becomes available, every self-respecting tax evader bids on it.

Here are some of the top boxes now being advertised:

"A beautiful safe deposit box, overlooking the blue waters of Turtle Reef. Enough room for a million dollars' worth of tax-free cash or bonds. Perfect for someone who is just starting out in business."

Another ad reads, "This box is located in one of the largest banks on Grand Cayman Island. It originally housed offshore money from the Enron Company. A steal since the company went bankrupt. It is more than a deposit box - it is a room with its own laundromat for laundering tax money worth more than 10 million dollars.

"The room comes in mahogany, and has two sets of electric locks, just like the ones at the Federal Reserve."

This is a good one: "For the first time, this safe with three rooms and nuclear bomb-proof walls, is for sale. It was put on the market by a motion picture company that sent all its worldwide receipts to the Cayman Islands in hopes of saving $100 million a year in taxes.

"Rodney Murthless, president of the company, said, 'We had to do it because our two blockbusters turned out to be turkeys. We were sorry to give it up because the box also came with golf privileges and a marina, which our executives and movies stars used when they flew in from Hollywood.'"

This one appeared in the want ads: "Attention certified accountants. Your clients deserve only the best, which means they need protection from the IRS. We now have condominium safes that are located in the peaceful sand dunes, away from the hustle and bustle of town. If you sign up you will automatically become a member of the Cayman Tax Cheaters Club. Safe deposit boxes start at $80,000, and our lawyers will do your corporate paperwork for you. Your box will have a confidential number that the FBI will never be able to track down.

"Speaking of condos, the Caymans are now offering timeshare safes for two-week periods. The choice time to do this is in April, when you want to be near your money."

What's good about putting your money in an offshore account is that the administration hasn't said anything against it. One of the reasons is that the Bush Administration smiles on the rich people and makes sure they get all the breaks.

I know one company that hangs the American flag from the roof of its building, buys Girl Scout cookies, supports political candidates, but prefers to be incorporated in the beautiful islands offshore.

The CEO of the company said, "We not only don't pay any taxes, but we hope to get rebates from the IRS to put us in the black."

I asked a banker if ordinary citizens in lower income brackets could go offshore. He said, "Offshore is only for the big guys who can't stand pain."

Comment on JWR contributor Art Buchwald's column by clicking here.

03/26/02: Au Revoir to Soft Money
03/21/02: Andersen Defense Fund?
03/19/02: Celebrity kickers
03/15/02: A Mickey Mouse solution
03/13/02: Shadow government in the sandbox
03/07/02: The Way It Is
03/05/02: Not telling the truth
03/01/02: Book flogging
02/27/02: The players are mad

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