Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Links - March 31

** Also see our searchable archive of past story summaries; and Offshore Watch. **

UK plans to ban use of offshore centres
March 30 (FT) - Banks operating in Britain will be banned from using tax havens if they sign up to a draft code of practice drawn up by the government to address a row over their aggressive tax planning. The code will only succeed if the government is able to persuade all banks, including UK branches of overseas banks, to sign up to it.

White House announces tax reform task force
March 25 (The Hill) - The Obama administration announced Wednesday that it is creating a task force to examine ways to simplify the tax code, close tax loopholes, lessen tax evasion and reduce corporate welfare.

Brown plans global scrutiny of tax havens
March 23 (Guardian) – ‘Tax havens will be forced to submit themselves to international scrutiny under plans to tackle their culture of secrecy being proposed by Gordon Brown.’

UEFA Considering Tax On Super-Rich Football Clubs
March 27 (Taxnews) - UEFA, the governing body for European football, has announced this week proposals to introduce a tax on big-money transfers in order to try to support struggling clubs forced into debt by their rich, often investor-backed, counterparts.

Sardinia To Scrap Wealth Tax Regime
March 27 (Tax News) - Sardinia’s new governor, Ugo Cappallacci, has announced this week that he is to retract his predecessor’s luxury tax regime. The sunny island off the coast of Italy, which hosts numerous VIPs and HNWIs, currently levies substantial taxes on private yacht and flight arrivals.

Brown snubbed over tax
March 29 (Times Online) – ‘GORDON BROWN’S carefully laid plans for a G20 deal on worldwide tax cuts have been scuppered by an eve-of-summit ambush by European leaders.’

UBS says Swiss tax move does not weaken it in U.S
March 27 (Reuters) – ‘UBS said on Thursday a decision by Switzerland and other offshore centers to cooperate more on tax evasion did not weaken the Swiss bank's stance in an ongoing U.S. tax dispute.’

Berlin Takes on the Tax Havens
March 27 (Spiegel) – ‘The German government is applying pressure on offshore tax havens. It is also taking action against German banks operating in Switzerland, where they maintain accounts for shadowy Liechtenstein foundations. In a time of economic crisis, Berlin needs all the tax euros it can get.’

Hell Nay, We Won’t Pay
March 27 (NY Times) – ‘Thanks to “Cracking the Code” which, by his count, has spawned “CtC Warrior” support groups in 48 states — author Peter Hendrickson has found, as he puts it, “a more productive” way to fight the income tax. Rather than mail a bomb to the I.R.S., he has taught thousands of Americans how to send the I.R.S. and state tax agencies what he calls “educated returns” — and what the I.R.S. calls fraudulent ones. A tale of tax deniers.

The mystery of the phantom 7236 clients of UBS
March (Le Temps) - ‘The documents delivered to the American courts by a former employee revealed that the bank has lost contact with thousands of customers. Ten years after the affair of the dormant, Switzerland has adopted no specific legislation on the subject.’

The Quiet Coup
May (The Atlantic) – ‘The crash has laid bare many unpleasant truths about the United States. One of the most alarming, says a former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, is that the finance industry has effectively captured our government—a state of affairs that more typically describes emerging markets, and is at the center of many emerging-market crises. If we are to prevent a true depression, we’re running out of time.’

Switzerland: Lacking the Political Will
March (Le Temps) – ‘When the panel that I chair has submitted a bill in 2004, international pressure had disappeared. Switzerland kept the feeling of having been unjustly mistreated,’ said Luc Thévenoz, Professor of Law at Geneva University.

Zambia parliament approves scrapping windfall tax
March 28 (Reuters) – ‘Zambia's parliament has agreed to abolish a controversial 25 percent windfall tax to reduce pressure on foreign mining firms hit by the global financial crisis, Mines Minister Maxwell Mwale said on Saturday.’

Island ‘likely to escape’ G20 blacklist inclusion
March 26 (This Is Guernsey) – ‘GUERNSEY is set to reach the finish line in its efforts to escape being blacklisted by the G20, the chief minister believes.’

FACTBOX: What is the G20?
(Reuters) - Leaders of the G20 major economies are due to meet in London on Thursday to review progress in tackling the biggest economic crisis since the 1930s. Following are some details of the group's origins and achievements so far.

Tax havens feel the heat
March 30 (FT) - Officials are exploring the possibility of moving negotiations on information exchange on to a multilateral basis. Developing countries are acutely aware of how much tax revenue they lose to evasion. “I don’t think it’s overstating it to say it’s the dawn of a new era” said John Riches, deputy chairman of STEP Worldwide, a professional body for wealth advisers.

Swiss to give Britain bank papers in bribery case
March 30 (AP) - Swiss authorities will provide bank account details to Britain in a multimillion dollar Nigeria bribery case involving a subsidiary of Halliburton Co., court rulings said Monday.

Combating Global Climate Change: Why a Carbon Tax is a Better Response to Global Warming than Cap and Trade
March (Stanford Environmental Law Journal) - A carbon tax could be implemented and enforced without the need for a complex new regulatory scheme and would provide an immediate carbon price signal. In addition, revenue from a carbon tax could support research and development of alternative energy and ease any regressive effects of the tax.

Swiss To Sign Model Treaty With US, Japan,
March 29 (Tax News) - Swiss Finance Minister Hans-Rudolf Merz has underlined Switzerland’s strategy in conforming to OECD’s standards through the signing of double tax agreements, providing for the exchange of information upon request. It is understood that the first two revised treaties will be signed with Japan and the US.

China Implements Measures To Combat Tax Evasion
March 29 (Tax News) - The Chinese State Administration of Taxation has removed tax privileges afforded under various double taxation treaties to foreign investors who misuse the system of 'special purpose vehicles' as a means of reducing their tax liabilities or circumventing exchange controls.

French Parliament Rejects Proposal To Tax The Rich
March 29 (Tax News) - Members of France’s National Assembly have nevertheless voted to reject four amendments to the much trumpeted “bouclier fiscal” or tax shield, including proposals to “suspend” the tax shield for 2009 income, and to increase tax on high-income earners, as a sign of solidarity in a time of crisis.


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