The data revolution
It will soon be a lot harder to hide money overseas
THE war on those stashing undisclosed money offshore intensified this week when 47 countries, including the Group of 20 and some prominent tax havens, sealed a pact that will shake up the sharing of tax information. Under the present system, countries have to file requests with each other for data on suspected cheats. Even reasonable enquiries are often rejected as “fishing expeditions”. In future the signatories—and dozens of others that will be pressed into joining later—will automatically exchange information once a year. This will include bank balances, interest income, dividends and the proceeds of sales, which can be used to assess capital-gains tax.
本周，随着47个国家共同签署了关于提高税务信息共享标准的协议，打击海外资金藏匿的战争愈演愈烈，而上述国家当中还包括了“20国集团”以及其他一些著名的“避税天堂” 。在现有的机制下，国家之间对涉嫌舞弊的财务信息的追查必须通过发函请求的方式来完成 。有时一些较为合理的信息追查请求都会被认定为“钓鱼式刺探”，遭到拒绝 。在未来，所有协议签署国都会每年一度自动共享交换财务信息，而许多未签署的国家接着也会迫于压力加入到这一协议当中 。协议中要求共享的信息包括银行存款、利息收益、股息分配和销售收益情况，都是能够被用于衡量企业资本利得税的指标 。
Some countries are likely to set up special arrangements, with reduced penalties, to encourage non-compliant taxpayers to bring money home now rather than wait to be caught once the new system kicks in, probably in 2017. The deal also increases pressure on banks to identify the ultimate owners of shell companies and trusts, behind which tax evaders often hide.
部分国家政府倾向于在较为温和的惩罚条件下，实施特殊的安排以鼓励偷税漏税者马上把钱转回国内，以免在2017年很可能推出的新系统力量下被抓出来 。同样地，政府还对银行施加压力，要求他们识别出空壳公司与信托基金的最终控制人，让偷税漏税者无处可藏 。
The catalyst for the agreement was America's Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). The law, passed in 2010, will soon impose stiff penalties on foreign financial firms that fail to declare their American clients. Once America began pushing for automatic declarations, other big countries did the same.
本次协议的催生因素是美国国外账户应税法案（America's Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act，FATCA）的颁布 。这部2010年通过的法案，将要求政府对未按要求披露美国本国客户情况的外国金融公司进行严厉的惩罚 。一旦美国开始推行自动财务信息披露的机制，其他大国也会纷纷效仿 。
The most eye-catching signatory to the accord is Switzerland, whose banks were at the centre of the scandals that gave rise to FATCA. The world's most famous offshore wealth-management centre was built on supposedly ironclad bank secrecy, but it has been forced to buckle under international pressure. This is momentous: for the Swiss, agreeing to swap client data systematically is the cultural equivalent of Americans giving up guns. Singapore, which has earned a reputation as the Switzerland of the East, is also a party to the deal.
本次最引人注目的协议签署国便是瑞士 。瑞士的银行深陷财务丑闻当中，并由此导致了FATCA法案的颁布 。作为世界上最著名的海外资金管理中心，瑞士的银行本应是银行机密坚守者，然而迫于国际压力他们不得不做出让步 。这是一项非常重大的变化：对于瑞士来说，彻底地对外交出银行客户数据就等同于让美国人放弃自己的武器使用权 。而有着“东方瑞士”美誉的新加坡，同样地签署了这份协议 。
Several challenges must be overcome to make it work. Data-collection systems need to be upgraded and harmonised. Even the most sophisticated tax authorities could struggle to process the deluge of information coming their way. Without assistance, poor countries whose elites dodge taxes using rich-world havens will not reap the benefits.
为了使新机制顺利运行，有几大问题需要克服 。首先是数据采集系统的更新与协调 。就算是最成熟的税务机关，要处理即将到来的巨量数据也同样是一个非常棘手的任务 。贫困国家的精英们往往通过富裕国家的“避税天堂”来偷税漏税，而在没有外来助力的情况下，这些贫困国家也难以在此协议中获益 。
More havens need to be brought into the fold. Britain's offshore satellites, such as Jersey and the Cayman Islands, are grudgingly on board. But it will be harder to corral Panama, Dubai and the havens dotted around the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Until they sign up, the likes of Switzerland and Luxembourg may have an excuse to drag their feet in implementing the new rules.
其次，还有更多的“避税天堂”需要被带入此协议标准当中 。就像是泽西岛和开曼群岛等英国离岸属地一样，勉强地加入了该协议 。而要将巴拿马、迪拜以及环太平洋和环印度洋分布的海外“避税天堂”等地也纳入协议当中则更为艰难 。只要这些国家一天不加入该协议，像瑞士和卢森堡之流便有借口去拖延新机制的执行 。
Still, the pace of change has been remarkable. Global information exchange, unthinkable a decade ago, is within reach. Tax evaders can be ingenious, but their options are narrowing fast.
但就总体而言，这已经是一次非凡的转变 。十年前如白日梦一般的全球信息交换机制已经在咫尺之间 。避税者们虽然十八般武艺俱全，但可供他们使用的花招已经不多了 。
1.shake up 使战栗；吃惊
Microsoft had largely grown complacent until google came along to shake up categories.
Colony capital, a property fund based in los angeles, helped shake up carrefour, a multinational retailer.
2.press into 压入
You force the press into the cold and all that you will get is lies and innuendo.
Frank and open-minded, genuinely interested in alternative views, the general happily took the press into his confidence.
3.set up 建立；准备；安排
That's not to say only a sophisticated investor can set up a blind trust.
Saudi arabia has set up an anti-corruption agency.
4.wait to 等待
I can't wait to see what he comes up with next.
I can't wait to get it written.