Tax Documentary Film Database
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TitleYearGenreURLProduction infoKeywordsDescription/Synopsis
The New Spirit1942Propaganda
Walt Disney Productions for the Department of the Treasury.
tax and war
Treasury Department quasi-propaganda film (starring Donald Duck) that encourages Americans to contribute their fair-share to the war effort by paying tax.
Spirit of ‘431943Propaganda
Walt Disney Productions for the Department of the Treasury.
tax and war
Treasury Department quasi-propaganda film (starring Donald Duck) that encourages Americans to save money in order to pay their taxes, rather than spending it for frivolous purchases (like gambling or alcohol).
The Sloane Affair1972Documentary
NFBfraud, investigation
This feature film, fictional in presentation but based on incidents from actual case files of the Department of National Revenue, depicts an investigation into a suspected tax fraud. A cast of Canadian actors convincingly portrays the investigation of the dealings of a successful building contractor charged with income tax evasion. As in the best of detective dramas, suspense builds during the conduct of the enquiry and in the persons who become involved.
The Polite Conspiracy1984Documentary
Sue Bourne BBCtax evasionDocumentary on tax evasion and avoidance
A Taxing Woman1987Drama
Juzo Itami, Itami Productions
The central character is a methodical and tenacious female tax auditor/investigator, Ryoto Itakura, who works for the Japanese Revenue Service. The film follows Itakura’s pursuit of Hideki Gondo, the owner of a chain of “love hotels,” who makes a practice of hiding his profits from tax authorities. Gondo uses elaborate evasion schemes involving dummy companies, fake bank accounts, dirty bankers, corrupt politicians and his associates in organized crime to underreport profits. In the end the “good guys” win, or at least the taxing woman does, by following the money and unraveling Gondo’s financial schemes.
Death and Taxes1993Documentary
Jeffery F. Jackson, Country People Productions, 1993
tax protestors
investigates the life and the questionable circumstances surrounding the death of Gordon Kahl, a forerunner of the Tax Defier movement.
An Act of Conscience1997Documentary Leppzer, Turning Tide Productionstax protestors
Life and Debt2001Documentaryhttp://www.lifeanddebt.orgStephanie Black
Free Zones; Lome Convention
Post-1962 Independence, Jamaica celebrates its freedom from colonial rule. But the 1970s energy crisis proves too much for its small economic. Consequently, Jamaica sought IMF funding, which was conditional on harsh austerity measures and the ending of subsidies or trade protections given to local products. The film outlines the ill effects of this race to the bottom, and using the milk, potato-onion-cabbage, and banana industries as case studies, shows how Jamaica simply couldn’t compete with foreign products that were sold cheaper--even within their own borders.
Tax Revolts2001DocumentaryCBStax protestors
About a the tax defier movement. It focuses on a group of small business owners who had stopped paying taxes and stopped withholding tax from their employees’ paychecks. Although a decade old, the segment adequately expresses the contorted logic of the movement--that there is nothing in the tax code that compels the average citizen to pay income tax
NOW with Bill Moyers: A Question of Fairness2003Documentary
Gov Bob Riley (republican) talks about paying a fair share (“Tax Justice in Alabama”)
Sealand: The Mystery Solved2003Documentary
Part 1: and Part 2:
Commissioned by the Principality of Sealand itself and produced in 2003, this programme provides a fascinating insight into the operation, business, security, quality of life and many other aspects of this unique island fortress at that time.
Tax Me if You Can (US version)2004Documentary tax avoidance
Tax shelter investigation: shows a lease-in/lease-out (LILO) transaction where a U.S. bank, First Union, leased 65 streetcars from the city of Dortmund, Germany and then immediately leased them back to the municipality. Lacking in economic substance, the transaction was designed to generate large up front tax benefits, mostly in the form of accelerated rent deductions. When the IRS later cracked down on LILOs, the broadcast showed that tax shelter promoters simply modified the lease contracts into a service contract structure.
Global Capital Market: Risks and Rewards2007Documentary
“Costs of Financial Mobility” ; tax competition and resulting reduction of welfare state
Inside the IRS2007DocumentaryNational Geographiccriminal investigations
discusses the processing, auditing, collection and taxpayer assistance functions of the IRS and highlights the work of the Criminal Investigations Division. It discusses, in a frank manner, the problems the Service has experienced in modernizing its technology, and the effect of the revenue agent abuse hearings conducted by the Senate Finance Committee in 1997.
Patrick Creadondeficits
features David Walker, former Comptroller General of the United States, who is one of the most outspoken proponents of fiscal responsibility in government. The documentary examines what Walker characterizes as the four deficits: the budget deficit, the savings deficit, balance of payments deficit and the leadership deficit in government to deal with these issues. It argues that the toxic mix of these four deficits threatens the US’s future
Tax Me if You Can (Australia Version)2008Documentary
Chronicles the tax haven scandal involving the LGT Bank of Liechtenstein that received notoriety in U.S. Senate hearings conducted by the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of the Senate’s Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee.
Taxing the Poor2008Documentary
regressivity, fairness
Due to a high dependence on sales tax, as well as a deduction for federal tax paid the rates in Alabama are highly regressive.
The End of Poverty2008Documentary Diaztrade, tax
Global poverty did not just happen. It began with military conquest, slavery and colonization that resulted in the seizure of land, minerals and forced labor. Today, the problem persists because of unfair debt, trade and tax policies -- in other words, wealthy countries taking advantage of poor, developing countries.
Rising Tide2008DocumentarySLU Productionsluxury tax
Tells the story of the effect on one New Jersey boat builder of a ten per cent luxury tax levied on new boat purchases over $100,000. The legislation took effect on January 1, 1991. After the legislation was passed, product demand dropped off dramatically, with potential boat owners buying in foreign countries, purchasing used boats (not subject to tax) or forgoing the purchase. The owners of the company, Viking Yachts, liquidated their 401(k) plans in an attempt to maintain staff but eventually had to lay off or furlough most of its workforce. The company of 1400 shrunk to 68 active employees. One worker committed suicide after being laid off. Many of the employees affected were carpenters, craftsmen and support personnel. Eventually, the federal government estimated that the cost of unemployment benefits plus lost individual taxes exceeded the revenue raised by the luxury tax. The tax was repealed in August, 1993. Today, Viking is a thriving company.
Tax Me If You Can (UK version)2009Documentary
BBC Panorama
Ten Trillion and Counting2009Documentary
PBStax cuts
Links growing American debt with Reagan and Bush tax reform, among other things.
We’re Not Broke2009Documentary Bruce, Karin Hayes Directorscorporate tax avoidance
We're Not Broke is the story of how multi-national corporations make record profits, yet dodge billions of dollars of income tax, and how seven fed-up citizens take their frustration to the streets...and vow to make the corporations pay their fair share.
Your Tax Dollars at Work2009Documentary
Barbara Kopplebudgets
Where do our tax dollars go? Uncle Sam takes a cut of our earnings every April. But what does he spend our hard-earned money on? The answers will truly surprise you in this vérité odyssey.
Deficits: Taxing the Rich2010Documentary
Discusses the difficulty of imposing a new tax, even if it falls mainly on the wealthy. It focuses on Washington State’s Initiative 1098 that would have created a state income tax. The proposed tax would impact wealthier taxpayers, with revenues going mostly to fund education.
Dispatches: How the Rich beat the Tax man2010Documentary
Channel 4 (UK)
I.O.U.S.A. Solutions2010Documentary
Patrick Creadondebt
Sequel to I.O.U.S.A. focuses on a range of long term solutions including budget process reform, re- imposition of PAYGO,11 discretionary spending caps, stabilizing the debt as a percentage of gross domestic product, and Social Security and Medicare reform. The last portion of the film is a discussion of the need to reform and modernize the federal tax system.
Inside the IRS2010Documentary (part 1)
National Geographicadministration
60 minutes: The New Tax Havens2011Documentary
CBStax havens
Discusses the exodus of American companies and jobs to countries like Switzerland and Ireland because of the difference in corporate tax rates. It also describes some of the methods corporations use to move profits overseas including the transfer of patents, formulas, trademarks, logos, and computer code to foreign subsidiaries in low rate countries.
An Inconvenient Tax2011Documentary
Christopher Marshall, Observer Productions/Lifeismymovie Entertainment
Dazed & Confused | The Money Issue2011Documentary
tax and social services
Fees + cuts = Riots" “This month, youth unemployment topped one million. Meanwhile, tuition fees have trebled, the EMA has been scrapped, and firms like Vodafone and Barclays continue to avoid paying vast amounts of tax while we are told planned cuts to welfare and the arts must go ahead. At the heart of all this is money, the one thing that none of us can live without, but so few of us really understand. In this special issue of Dazed, we try to take a cultural look at the big picture, and ask how we got here... and what can be done.”
Heist: Who Stole the American Dream?2011Documentary
Frances Causey1971 fiscal crisis
Who Stole the American Dream? is stunning audiences across the globe as it traces the worldwide economic collapse to a 1971 secret memo entitled Attack on American Free Enterprise System. Written over 40 years ago by the future Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell, at the behest of the US Chamber of Commerce, the 6-page memo, a free-market utopian treatise, called for a money fueled big business makeover of government through corporate control of the media, academia, the pulpit, arts and sciences and destruction of organized labor and consumer protection groups.
The American Tax Cheat2011Documentary moraleLooks at the phenomenon of tax evasion.
UK Uncut2011Documentary Uncut protest
Documentary about the activist group. See also related UK Uncut clips (e.g., “UK Uncut: Tax Dodgers Grand Prix”; “How to do a bank bail-in”)
Transfer pricing and tax havens2011
Khan academy explainer
Khan Academy. Sal Khantransfer pricing
"How a corporation can set up a tax haven and use it through transfer pricing" (transfer of IP to tax haven; income stripping via royalties)
While We Watch2012Documentary wall street
#whilewewatch is the gripping portrait of the #OccupyWallSt media revolution. Citizens came together at Zuccotti Park with energy, intelligence and guts to impassion their message, "We are the 99%."#whilewewatch discovers the #OWS media team who had no fear of a critical city government, big corporations, hostile police, or a lagging main stream media to tell their story.
Dispatches: Secrets of the Taxman2012Documentary
Channel 4 (UK)investigations
We’re Not Broke2012Documentary
Victoria Bruce, Karin Hayescorporate tax avoidance
An exposé on how the government has allow U.S. corporations to avoid paying taxes and the growing wave of discontent that it has fostered.
Good Copper, Bad Copper2012Documentary tax avoidanceZambia mining tax avoidance
Cash investigation S1E3: Les petits secrets des grandes entreprises
Philippe Lallement et alcorporate tax avoidance
Frontline: The Untouchables2013Documentary
PBS2008 crisis
A look at the MBS scandal that led to the 2008 crisis. Lanny Breuer is criticized for being too much of a wimp when going after the banks and is excoriated for failing to indict any management or CEOs.
How to Build a Country from Scratch2013Documentary
Sudan's split into South Sudan; in one scene, a UN official explains taxation to woman on street.
Inside Story : Tax avoidance: Legality vs morality2013Documentary
Al-Jezeera Englishavoidance vs evasion
Cash investigation S2E1: Le scandale de l'evasion fiscale: revelations sur les milliards qui nous manquent
Philippe Lallement et altax havens
Tax Free Tour2013Documentary
Blacklightcorporate tax avoidance
"Where do multinationals pay taxes and how much?" Gaining insight from international tax experts, Backlight takes a look at tax havens, the people who live there and the routes along which tax is avoided globally. Those routes go by resounding names like 'Cayman Special', 'Double Irish', and 'Dutch Sandwich'.
Falciani's Tax Bomb: The Man Behind the Swiss Leaks2015Documentary Lewispolitics
Over the last ten years, a series of leaks of financial data have made politicians and public opinion in many Western democracies increasingly concerned about the tax optimisation practices of the wealthiest members of their society. In the shadow of the financial crisis, public opinion has been calling for reform of banking privacy and international tax agreements. The subject has created diplomatic crises between nations and tensions in financial markets. One of the figures at the centre of the debate is the Franco-Italian banking IT technician Hervé Falciani. In 2008, Hervé Falciani left his job at the Swiss branch of HSBC, taking with him - without authorisation - a hard-drive containing a database of 130,000 named bank accounts, held by citizens from 180 countries. This database found its way into the hands of many world governments. The purpose of this film is to examine the tax debate in a critical and engaging but also a balanced way.
Offshore Banking / Tax Havens : Didn’t you know, you knew ?2016Documentary secrecy
Hollywood movies, Belgian comic strips, and thrillers of all origins have depicted tax havens for decades, focusing on this issue long before it was taken up by activists, intellectuals, or journalists. A highly eclectic set of works, including movies such as Blood Diamond, Wall Street or The Godfather, made tax havens part of their plots in order to ensure their own credibility: corrupt politicians, financial schemers and drug lords would not be taken seriously if they failed to use numbered accounts, initially in Switzerland, or today in Panama or Andorra. These narratives are significant in that they reveal the audience’s intuitive awareness of tax havens. Mass culture tells us that this awareness exists; the goal now is to bring it to a political level.
Offshore: Elmer und das Bankgeheimnis2016Documentary Schweizertax evasion
While managers of Swiss banks in the USA ruefully apologize for their tax evasions practices and customer data is disclosed to the American authorities, Rudolf Elmer, former auditor at bank Julius Bär, is indicted for violating the Swiss banking secrecy law on the Cayman Islands. Rudolf Elmer: from insider to critic.
Cash investigation S4E7: Paradis fiscaux: le casse du siecle2016Documentary
Philippe Lallement et altax havens
Paradis fiscale & Panama Papers, scandale d'évasion fiscale2016Documentary
France 2/Radarpanama papers
The Price We Pay2017Documentary
fairness, corproate tax
Global Witness | Paradise Papers: Time to investigate Glencore
paradise papers
The revelations in the Paradise Papers by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) lay out how the rich and powerful hide their business dealings through offshore tax havens.
The Spider's Web: Britain's Second Empire2017Documentary Oswaldtax havensHow Britain transformed from an imperial power to a financial power.
Cash investigation S6E3 Paradise Papers: au coeur d'in scandal mondial
2017Documentary Lallement et alparadise papersLuxembourg
Development Foregone2017Documentary
Tax Justice Africatax and development
A documentary on tax justice and illicit financial flows. How taxation should be used for development because when it isn't, inequalities only get worse.
Der Insider: #CumExFiles2018Documentary
Correctivtax fraud
A group of bankers and lawyers have robbed Europe's taxpayers of €55 billion. The #CumExFiles is a joint investigation by 19 European media from twelve countries, coordinated by the German non-profit newsroom CORRECTIV.
Short Film Documentary and development
A massive government development project shows promise for the economy of Grand Cayman but stands in the way of the protection of the island's endangered marine life and the fight for a sustainable future.
Evasion fiscale: Le hold-up du siècle2013Documentary
Xavier Harel
fraud, international finance, making of law, tax havens
Why We Have Taxes, or The Town That Had No Policeman1970
Short Film Animation
Marie Winn
taxation, security, society
Based on The Town That Had No Policeman by Marie Winn. When a town of long ago is beset by several thefts, the merchants finally agree that each should pay a little of their own money to support a policeman to protect their goods.