Sunday, November 23, 2008

Links - Nov 23

Also see Offshore Watch, and TJN's searchable historical news archive

Switzerland should abolish bank secrecy Rough English translation here
Swissinfo (Nov 23) - TJN's director, John Christensen, on the role of tax havens in the global economic crisis, and more.

Poor nations threaten to quit key talks
Observer (Nov 23) - The International Conference on Financing for Development starts in Doha, Qatar, on Saturday. The issue of the world's tax system is especially contentious. Poorer countries face a race to the bottom with countries outdoing each other to offer low business taxes as well as tax havens offering zero rates. Equally serious is their inability to match the resources of multinational firms, whose armies of lawyers and accountants make it impossible for the stretched resources of tax officials in developing nations to claw revenue back. A proposal to upgrade the UN tax committee to intergovernmental status to increase its political leverage has become a lightning rod.

Stop this tax haven hell
Le Monde (Nov 22) - A debate between Renaud van Ruymbeke, a crime-fighting French financial magistrate, and Olivier Pastre, a member of the board of IM Bank (Tunisia). Rough English translation here.

Treasury to Review New Tax Break Plan
Nov 18 (NYTimes) - The Treasury Department will review a quiet change in tax policy that may give banks a windfall of $110 billion. The obscure tax break allows banks much greater leeway to use tax losses from banks they acquire.

Tomorrow, Mr Darling must introduce morality into the City
Guardian (Nov 23) - The UK Chancellor (Finance Minister) should announce a major inquiry into British corporate governance. We can't go on with a system in which directors essentially award themselves bonuses for non-performance. I would introduce a financial services bonus tax - 75 per cent for one year bonuses, but tapering downwards to the standard tax system for long-term bonuses.

A Golden Opportunity? How Tanzania is failing to benefit from gold mining
Oct 1 - Gold mining is the fastest growing sector of Tanzania’s economy...Yet the government has implemented tax laws that are overly favourable to multinational mining companies: very low tax revenues, minimal governmental and popular democratic scrutiny, associated with corruption, people in the gold mining areas are barely benefiting and many are being made poorer.

US Treasury to Review New Tax Break Plan
Nov 18 (NYTimes) - The Treasury Department will review a quiet change in tax policy that may give banks a windfall of $110 billion. The obscure tax break allows banks much greater leeway to use tax losses from banks they acquire.

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