First hint: A little old lay on TV called Dr. Ruth, who had to have a stand under her chair so her feet wouldn’t dangle in the air, counseled the world on sexual matters.
Here’s hint number two: A bloke who’d spilt ketchup on his forehead tried to avert nuclear Armageddon by negotiating disarmament with an actor from California, who had the comparative memory of a goldfish and a penchant for jelly babies.
You got it by now haven’t you. Okay, just in case. One more:
Hint number three: Miami Vice, Don Johnson, no socks, padded shoulders? Tom Selleck, thick moustache, sterility inducing tight shorts.
Yes you have all got it by now. The correct answer is the eighties.
I could write about it forever, them were the days eh? But I won’t, although I know full well some of you are already taking a daydream stroll down that memory lane of big hair and cars made of 90 degree angles. But there was one specific thing I have in mind at the moment regarding the eighties: Cocaine, crack, drugs mmmmmkay. Specifically I mean the War on Drugs.
Although the term War on Drugs was coined during Tricky Dickie Richard Nixon’s tenure in 1971 it only really took off in the eighties. Every movie, every TV show had some Banana Republic dictator or bad suite wearing sleazy mustachioed Pablo swapping suitcases full off white powder for briefcases full of cash. Cue Chuck Norris, helicopter, machine gun fire, a few exploding jeeps and a kick in the head to the bad guy and then the credits. That was the War on Drugs.
It was all about the Benjamins, the money. Obviously for the criminals, but also for governments. The sheer amount of money moving in the drug business was of such size that chasing these illicit spoils and intercepting it from the baddies provided a source of revenue for governments and good PR for political leaders.
By now you are probably expecting me to write a story about us private bankers and drug money, but I regret to say, you err my dear reader. Because what this is about is tax. The chase for drug money in the eighties is exactly what today’s chase for tax money is.
Understand this and understand this well: Tax money is the new drug money. Governments and nations will move mountains and bring down a world of pain upon those who try to hide tax revenue it feels it is entitled to. This means that the days of the traditional offshore banking model, where money is hidden behind banking secrecy laws, are gone, they are over.
Read this and read this well: If you are evading tax, in the eyes of the taxman you are no better than Pablo Escobar and you are therefore fair game. So what to do? You can keep one step ahead of the taxman by putting your money on the lam, so to speak, placing it in one hidden entity or structure after another, but be warned, that is a life on the run. The world is getting smaller and smaller and it is happening faster and faster. You will have to rely on ever more dodgy structures, banks and bankers and all the time you will be worried when the phone rings if your number has come up with the Grim Tax Reaper. The other option is to get in front of it, start putting that money that is often referred to in the offshore sector as “grey” and get proper advice on how to bring it inline so that you can sleep well and have your money in a tax compliant state. Yes that means paying some tax but with good professional advice you won’t have to feel like Pablo Escobar on the run.