Friday, April 17, 2009

International News - April 17

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


Indian Tax Authority Considers Ways To Reduce Use Of Tax Havens
April 17 (Tax News) - The Indian Central Board of Direct Taxes is investigating ways of acting against roundtripping and treaty shopping, capitalizing on concerted attempts worldwide to force greater disclosure on tax havens. India is examining its own financial relationships with Mauritius and Cyprus in particular, which together account for 46% of total inward direct investment into India in the last decade. In fact Mauritius overtook the US in this period as the largest direct investor in India.

Jersey Funds Industry To Benefit From New Investment Vehicles Structures
April 16 (Tax News) - Jersey’s funds industry is set to benefit from the introduction of new legislation this year which will offer more choice for fund promoters over how they structure their investment vehicles, according to funds lawyers, Joel Hernandez and Sophie Travis at Jersey law firm, Mourant du Feu & Jeune.

Switzerland May Implement Sanctions Against OECD
April 16 (Tax News) - Switzerland may exercise its veto on various key votes within the OECD together with applying other financial sanctions aimed increasingly at Angel Gurria, the OECD Secretary-General in protest at the way he personally is applying pressure to relax bank secrecy laws and share information for tax purposes.

Switzerland Ready to Return $130m Loot
April 16 (This Day) - The Government of Switzerland yesterday said it would be willing to release the $150 million Halliburton bribe money trapped in Swiss bank accounts if Nigeria formally requests for assistance."We have discovered that $150 million of the bribe money is in Zurich.”

‘Eaten alive by investment bankers’
April 16 (FT) - “I witnessed trusting and naive provincial building society executives and non-executives, who had no real understanding of securitisation or structured finance or any other aspect of the workings of global capital markets, being eaten alive by cynical, rapacious and short-termist investment bankers

Financial Watchdog Lacks Bite
April 16 (FT) - Lord Turner of Ecchinswell, who became chairman of the FSA last September, has admitted that the City watchdog’s previous “light touch” form of regulation was a mistake. Lord Turner proposed restrictions on excessive bonuses and greater regulation of the “shadow banking” system, such as hedge funds and offshore tax havens.

UBS Client Pleads Guilty in Tax Case
April 14 (NYT) - A wealthy UBS private banking client whose yacht company caters to Russian oligarchs, Kuwaiti royals and other global jet-setters, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to tax fraud, the second American caught in a widening investigation of the Swiss banking giant.

Radio: William Brittain-Catlin on tax havens

Radio: TJN's John Christensen on BBC World Service Analysis

Credit Card Processor Asked for Offshore Data
April 15 (NYT) - The federal government is widening its investigation of offshore tax evasion to include services sold by the First Data Corporation, a large processor of credit card transactions.

Still No Verdict in Castroneves Tax Case
April 15 (AP) - Jury deliberations will stretch into a fifth day in the complex tax evasion case of Brazilian race car driver Helio Castroneves and two co-defendants.

Obama Vows to Reform "Monstrous" Tax Code
April 15 (Reuters) - President Barack Obama promised Americans his administration would reform the "monstrous" U.S. tax system as millions faced the dreaded annual deadline on Wednesday for filing income tax returns.

The quiet coup
The American financial industry gained political power by amassing a kind of cultural capital—a belief system. Once, perhaps, what was good for General Motors was good for the country. Over the past decade, the attitude took hold that what was good for Wall Street was good for the country. The banking-and-securities industry has become one of the top contributors to political campaigns, but at the peak of its influence, it did not have to buy favors the way, for example, the tobacco companies or military contractors might have to. Instead, it benefited from the fact that Washington insiders already believed that large financial institutions and free-flowing capital markets were crucial to America’s position in the world.

Digger: Clubs no haven for super rich
April 7 (Guardian) - The ultimate controlling party for more than a third of the 20 Premier League clubs are based offshore

Panama holds out against campaign to end era of banking secrecy
April 13 (Times Online) Faced with the growing hostility of politicians, some tax havens quickly crumbled under the pressure.

Round-tripped FDI from tax havens under OECD review
April 13 (Financial Express) Days after G-20 nations agreed to crack down on tax havens where nearly $11 trillion is parked, the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has begun a review of India’s foreign direct investment (FDI) policy to suggest measures that will ease sector-specific ceilings as well as look into issues of round tripping.

Swiss bank 'to close US customer accounts'
April 13 (Guardian) The Swiss bank Credit Suisse is edging towards closing the accounts of thousands of American customers as tax authorities in Washington step up a campaign against offshore banking secrecy.

It is time to put finance back in its box
April 13 (Financial Times) Nicolas Sarkozy arrived at the Group of 20 summit having said: “The all-powerful market that is always right is finished.” The French president left it proclaiming “a page has been turned” on the Anglo-Saxon financial model.

Welcome to tax-dodge city, USA
April 10 (Guardian) It lacks the palm-fringed sandy beaches of the Cayman Islands. Or the craggy Alpine peaks of Liechtenstein. But should the second smallest US state, Delaware, go on a blacklist of globally notorious tax havens?

New CTJ Fact Sheet: Do the Rich Really Pay Over a Third of Their Income in Federal Income Taxes?
April 10 (Tax Justice Digest) As we approach April 15th, one complaint we often hear is that Americans who work hard and become successful have to pay over a third of their income in federal income taxes. But a recent report from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) shows that this is not remotely true.

The G20’s plan to tackle banking secrecy is a small step in the right direction, says Prem Sikka
April 9 (Tribune Magazine) TAX avoidance has undermined the tax base of many countries

Shackelford Presents Corporate Income Tax Burdens at Home and Abroad Today at Northwestern
April 9 (Tax Prof Blog) Douglas Shackelford (University of North Carolina, Kenan-Flagler Business School) presents Corporate Income Tax Burdens at Home and Abroad (with Kevin Markle (University of North Carolina, Kenan-Flagler Business School) at Northwestern today as part of its Advanced Topics in Taxation Series organized by Tom Brennan and Charlotte Crane.

Distributional Consequences of Converting the Property Tax to a Land Value Tax
April 8 (Tax Prof Blog) John H Bowman and Michael E Bell have published Distributional Consequences of Converting the Property Tax to a Land Value Tax: Replication and Extension of England and Zhao

Cabinet seeks greater say on tax haven laws
April 8 (Swiss Info) Switzerland is seeking to boost international cooperation to avoid a repeat of sanction threats against its financial centre.

Is the sun setting on Tax Dodgers?
Comment article from our friends at GFI.

Come to Sunny Jersey!
April 8 (Senator Stuart Syvret Blog) Just a brief post as I am doing yet more legal work - and as I've commented elsewhere, the police raid and search of my home on on Monday was - most definitely -unlawful.

Six tax breaks you've probably never heard of.
April 7 (Newsweek) Ah, the wild, wacky tax code—you gotta love it. With more than 20,000 pages of rules and regulations, there's something in it for everyone. And we mean everyone.

From the House That Ruth Built to the House the IRS Built
April 6 (Tax Foundation) The stadium's construction costs have been publicly subsidized in the form of $942 million in tax-exempt bonds issued by New York City.[3] Seeking tax-free status for the bonds to ensure a lower interest rate, New York structured the deal to ensure it didn't run afoul of a federal tax code provision which requires that such bonds not be "private activity bonds."

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