South Dakota: Surprise Tax Haven Unveiled
(GREATER DAKOTA NEWS SERVICE) – South Dakota has made global headlines on tax shelters, as an international reporting initiative notes that the state is the leader in U.S. housing trusts.
The Pandora Papers, published by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, indicate that South Dakota is home to $ 360 billion in trusts owned by a range of international clients. These shelters may be legal, but they are linked to some people accused of human rights abuses.
Dave Wiltse, professor of political science at South Dakota State University, said this type of activity was generally not visible to the public, so most people in South Dakota are not up to date.
“It doesn’t come on their radar for very logical reasons, and it stays out of their attention for very logical reasons.”
While some state laws have been changed to elevate this part of the state’s financial sector, Wiltse notes that much of it was driven by people behind the scenes.
“Lobbyists, as well as regulators and members of the executive [branch], because they have the expertise.
Groups calling for reform say these high-dollar trusts allow global elites to avoid paying taxes. While this may be true compared to other types of investments, Wiltse notes that these “hidden” financial services have played a role in spurring the growth of towns like Sioux Falls.
In a survey conducted by SDSU, Wiltse says that more than three in four South Dakotas mistakenly cited agriculture as the state’s number one industry when it comes to the financial industry which now plays a leading role.