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Old 04.09.2009, 20:19
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Re: Tax Hells

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The sophisticated persons who are the natural readers of such reports are not, however, likely to be in "the usual situation of a working resident having wage income and paying income taxes and social security contributions". They are the buyers of tax shelters and trusts and estate plans, migrants from one tax jurisdiction to another, readers of this forum, etc.

Within a single country, notably the USA and Switzerland, people do make choices based on tax comparisons; and there is a "flight to the bottom" in the sense of certain states and cantons competing with each other to attract tax exiles. Here is just one of many for the USA: http://www.retirementliving.com/RLtaxes.html and here is one for Switzerland: http://en.comparis.ch/steuern/overview.aspx

But internationally concepts are so different as to be practically irrelevant. Free or cheap university as compared with $50,000 a year; free or cheap health care as compared with possible bankruptcy for the inadequately insured or uninsured; cheap energy vs. highly-taxed energy; and so on.

And, for Switzerland, what index captures the economies of living close enough to a frontier to do one's shopping in a neighbouring country? I've mentioned elsewhere the symbolism of St-Gingolph where all but a couple of the shops are on the French side, and even the café on the Swiss side gets its pastries from the boulangerie in France.
Wow. Your erudite eloquence is amazing.
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