Bank profits: Now you see them; now you don’t


The IMF suggests, to placate public opinion, two taxes: the Future Bailout Fund and FAT (Financial Activities Tax). So how, exactly, can these be collected and what will happen to the money? The IMF has no mechanism for assessment or collection nor is there any other global tax collector, Inshallah. So each country will levy what it knows about and the total is more or less that the global figure should be. Well actually it will be less with profit flipping: "honest guv, our foreign activities make the money". Bank HQs will be translocating at great speed.

And when the national governments have collected the cash and, a few years on, there is a banking failure in country A, who thinks countries B, C, D… will cough up the readies from the Future Bailout Fund to help them out? Come to that, hands up those who think the money will still be there?

Tim Ambler is Honorary Senior Research Fellow, London Business School and Senior Fellow, Adam Smith Institute.