Thursday, October 30, 2008

International News - Oct 30

** Also see here for a permanent list of past story summaries; see Offshore Watch for more stories. **

We have created a new web page
Economic crisis and Offshore.” It seeks to put various different analyses that are emerging into a single space.

The tax haven debate - on TV
Oct 23 (TJN) - Daniel Mitchell of the Cato Institute has taken part in a lively debate on France 24 international television, along with Alex Cobham of Christian Aid, Andreas Missbach of the Berne Declaration, and Jean Meckaert of the Comité Catholique contre la Faim et le Développement (CCFD.)

A letter to Britain's Financial Secretary to the Treasury
TJN sends a letter to Rt Hon Stephen Timms, MP, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, House of Commons, about Britain obstructing the upgrade of the UN Tax Committee.

Sunday Herald on tax havens and the economic crisis
Oct 26 (TJN) - More people are waking up to the link between tax havens and the current economic crisis, following our seminal article in The Guardian and statements by leaders and politicians around the world.

Apartheid companies, sanctions-busting and tax havens
Oct 29 (TJN) - We've been sent an interesting report about how South African companies eased their tax burdens, during and after the Apartheid era, getting special tax breaks, using shell companies in tax havens, and so on. Featuring Jersey and many others.

New study: Rich Cheat More On Taxes
Oct 29 (TJN) - Forbes magazine quotes a new study based on unpublished U.S. Internal Revenue Service data showing the rich are different when it comes to paying taxes: They hide more of their income.

More people waking up to the link between tax havens and the financial crisis
Oct 23 (TJN) - We have made the case clearly why tax havens, and tax and regulatory competition, are right at the roots of the evolving financial crisis. We recently noted officials at the IMF and the OECD, and the leaders of France and Germany lining up behind our analysis.

The Effects of the Candidates' Tax Plans on Households at Different Income Levels: Examples
New Report from Citizens for Tax Justice
October 29 (CTJ) - Examines hypothetical households representing different income groups to determine how they would fare under the tax plans proposed by the presidential candidates. Those in the top one percent would have a tax increase that would be fairly small (as a percentage of their income) under Obama's tax plan, but they would receive breathtaking tax cuts exceeding $270,000 under McCain's plan.

Senator Obama calls time on the tax havens
Oct 29 (TJN) – TJN looks at McCain and Obama’s tax records.

Subverting corporate responsibility
Oct 29 (TJN) - Take a look at the "corporate social responsibility" section on Wikipedia. Scroll through it for the word "tax." It suggests that CSR is, or even should be, a good way to distract us from tax and regulation.

Nazis and bank secrecy again
Oct 29 (TJN) - Recently we had Liechtenstein slinging the Nazi allegation at Germany, after the German finance minister, Peer Steinbrück, understandably criticised the little Alpine secrecy jurisdiction for helping wealthy German citizens evade taxes. Now we've got a new Nazi slur, this time in the form of a communiqué from the right wing SVP party in Switzerland.

Is this what democray is made of?
Oct 29 (TJN) – A look at offshore funding for Britain's Conservative Party.

Time for lobbying transparency
Oct 29 (TJN) -On an event to be held on November 5th in London. It's from a group called the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency, whose primary aim is the introduction of a mandatory Parliamentary register of lobbyists, similar to the system in the States, alongside other measures to prevent undue influence and privileged access.

Tobacco Underground: the booming trade in smuggled Cigarettes
Experts estimate that contraband accounts for 11 percent of all cigarette sales. The cost to governments worldwide is massive: a whopping $40 billion to $50 billion in lost tax revenue during 2006.

Profiting from the recession
Oct 29 (Guardian, by Prem Sikka) - The deepening recession is bad news for most people, but accounting firms must be rubbing their hands. They are going to make a lot of money from insolvencies. Now a fairy godmother in the shape of the US Treasury has appeared.

'Non-dom' globetrotter Robert Gaines-Cooper faces huge tax bill
Oct 29 (Times) - In a ruling yesterday that will be keenly studied by other “non-doms”, A globe-trotting entrepreneur is facing a multimillion-pound tax bill after failing to persuade senior judges that he has non-domiciled status because his home for more than 30 years has been a Seychelles villa.

Sovereign Society's toadies, liars, charlatans
Oct 22 (TJN) - We have, predictably, come under attack from certain well-funded quarters. Here are our retorts (the smears, we will just leave as a sign of people who have lost the argument).

The OECD encourages tax competition
Oct 22 (TJN) - Grace Perez-Navarro, deputy-director of OECD’s Centre for Tax Policy and Administration, has been speaking about the organisation's work on transparency and tax matters.

Juncker's TV courage
Oct 23 (TJN) - Luxembourg has a nasty little tax haven racket running in the centre of Europe. Now Arlette Chabot, information director for French TV station France 2, has written - perhaps was forced to write - a craven apology to the Luxemourg Prime Minister, Jean-Claude Juncker, after her station had the temerity to suggest that not all is well in the little tax haven state.

Rerum Novarum - a letter from Rome
Oct 25 (TJN) – John Christensen in Rome, and his adventures as a guest of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace at the Vatican.

Tax and state-building in fragile states, new report
http://taxjustice.blogspot.com/2008/10/tax-and-state-building-in-fragile.html
Oct 27 (TJN) - A short new report is available from the Danish Institute for International Studies. It's called Taxation and state-building with a (more) human face. This fits into a broader body of new research which is emerging, and in which TJN is involved.

UK resists global governance
http://taxjustice.blogspot.com/2008/10/uk-resists-global-governance.html
Oct 27 (TJN) - It's getting almost boring how often we have to take the UK to task over its resistance to any kind of international governance in the field of global finance. It's not just us saying it, though.

You've been robbed - short film
http://taxjustice.blogspot.com/2008/10/youve-been-robbed-short-film.html
Oct 27 (TJN) - Please watch this short tax justice film, entitled "You've Been Robbed." And pass it on.

SOMO's new report on tax and development
Oct 28 (TJN) - In a month’s time, the follow up International Conference on Financing for Development will be held in Doha. This is a good time to consider tax problems for developing countries.

Lawsuit claims Barclays is guilty of fraud
Oct 26 (Independent) - Barclays is being sued by a French asset manager in a New York court over the collapse of two investment vehicles designed in London and managed out of the tax havens of Jersey and Guernsey.

DEVELOPMENT: Poor Hit by Recession and Tax Havens
Oct 27 (IPS) - With signs of a recession preoccupying policy-makers in industrialised countries, prospects for the success of an international conference on providing finance to the world's poor do not appear high.

Rich Cheat More On Taxes, New Study Shows
Ocr 21 (Forbes) - A new study based on unpublished Internal Revenue Service data shows the rich are different when it comes to paying taxes: They hide more of their income.

Wish you were here (Part 1)
Oct 25 (Sunday Herald) - Banks bailed out by UK taxpayers control hundreds of firms in tax havens

Wish you were here (Part 2)
Oct 25 (Sunday Herald) - Time for government to insist that tax haven loopholes are closed.

Tiny Tax Cheats, Giant Shortfalls
Oct 27 (Barrons) - Many small businesses help themselves to lower taxes.

The Fund faces up to competition
Oct 21 (FT) - For weeks, the headlines have been dominated by banks faltering and countries propping them up. But we have entered a new phase of this crisis in which countries themselves are starting to struggle.

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