For decades, Chinese leaders engaged in half-hearted crackdowns on tax dodgers. Xi Jinping pledged to root out corruption among Communist Party officials when he became president in March, but so far politicians have primarily been targeted for accepting bribes and keeping mistresses, not tax evasion. While government officials may be getting a pass for now, the same is not true for political dissidents. The noted artist Ai Weiwei and his company Fake Cultural Development Ltd., for instance, have been slapped with $2.4 million in fines for allegedly violating tax laws.
It shouldn't be surprising that taxes in Israel are a sensitive matter, especially when you consider the delicate arrangement the Knesset has with the Palestinian Authority. Israel collects taxes on all imports entering the country and forwards to the PA taxes on goods that wind up in the West Bank. Israel also returns to the PA taxes on Palestinian labor and purchases; likewise, though to a much smaller extent, the PA is liable for taxes collected on Israeli transactions in the West Bank. This all works fairly well -- until a crisis. During periods of violence, the Israeli government has suspended the transfer of tax revenues to the PA (which, as of 2006, financed about half of the PA's operating expenses). This included a two-year hiatus after the intifada in 2000, and more recently, a four-month suspension from December 2012 to March 2013 in retaliation for the PA seeking observer status at the United Nations. The PA didn't get that money back, though -- it was held to pay off the PA's old water and electric bills.