Monday, December 15, 2008

Links - Dec 15

** Also see TJN's searchable news archive; and Offshore Watch for more stories. **

These vile tax havens have had their day
Dec 14 (Observer) - Since 1997, Labour has not shown the slightest squeamishness about allowing the Barclay brothers and their kind to avoid the taxes that you, dear reader, must pay on pain of imprisonment. Ministers had the sovereign power to stop them, but in the bubble years they would do nothing that threatened the City, which routed so much of its business offshore. The energy they put into defending rich men and rich companies is shameful to recall. See also this Guardian editorial.

Attack on Irish 'low-tax zone'
Dec 10 (FT) - A senior UK Liberal Democrat has described Dublin as "Liechtenstein on the Liffey". Lord Oakeshott, a Treasury spokesman, told the Lords: "It promotes itself as a low-tax zone off north-west Europe, a kind of Cayman Islands in a cold climate and aggressively chases footloose financiers and less scrupulous British companies to move to Dublin to dodge tax." He said there were "worrying parallels" between Iceland and Ireland. Irish banks, which had lent heavily on property, were in "dire straits", although the problems were not as severe as in Iceland. "Dublin does not need to be Liechtenstein on the Liffey. If you set out to attract mobile money from around the world, you run much bigger risks when things go wrong."

Cable warns head of offshore review not to be 'seduced' by lobbyists
Dec 12 (Accountancy Age) - Vince Cable, Liberal Democrat shadow chancellor, has urged the head of a government-commissioned inquiry into offshore tax havens to consider recommending radical reforms to crackdown on tax avoidance. 'The tax havens are very good at lobbying and (Michael) Foot will be in danger of being seduced into some anodyne restatement of the status quo.'

Cracks in the crust
Dec 11 (The Economist) - Iceland was uniquely overextended, but other countries, too, have big banking industries relative to the size of their economies supported by lots of borrowing. Britain is one. Willem Buiter of the London School of Economics, who prepared a report on Iceland earlier this year that gave warning of the risk of disaster, asked in a recent, widely discussed blog whether London could be “Reykjavik-on-Thames”

Eurodad analysis of the Doha UN Financing for Development Outcome Document
Dec 11 (Eurodad) - Eurodad has done an assessment of the contents of the United Nations Financing for Development Outcome document. Eurodad staff and members participated actively in discussions with decision-makers across Europe and at the EU level. Looking at aid, debt, capital flight, taxation and systemic issues.

Hedge funds have to be regulated and transparent, or be put out of business
Dec 14 (Tax Research) - Almost all hedge funds are incorporated offshore. The UK’s FSA has said that it would not know what to do if one sought to register in the UK. Now news comes that a hedge fund run by Bernard Madoff, a former Chairman of NASDAQ, is nothing more than a fraud.

Stopping Corporate Tax Dodging: International Tax Justice
It is time students and youth recognized one of the most important challenges for our generation and joined the international campaign for tax justice.

Slapping a tax on playtime
Nov 25 (BBC) - Slowly but surely authorities around the world are turning their attention to online games and virtual worlds and the tax-exempt status of the economic activity taking place within them.

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