Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Links - Aug 5

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

Bank regulators dig in against Obama shake-up
Aug 4 (Reuters) - The officials' defiance, in prepared congressional testimony obtained by Reuters, came despite a warning given to them on Friday by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner in private remarks punctuated with expletives.

UBS not to pay fine in U.S. tax settlement: reports
Aug 2 (Reuters) - Switzerland's UBS will not have to pay a fine as part of the settlement of a tax evasion dispute with the United States, two Swiss newspapers reported on Sunday.

Swiss misinformation in the New York Times
August 3 (TJN) The New York Times is carrying an article by a Swiss ideologue, Pierre Bessard, entitled Leave Swiss Banks Alone. Anyone reading it might be forgiven for thinking that Swiss bank secrecy somehow is a benefit to the world. We would like to correct a few points of fact, and of interpretation.

Markets can be wrong and the price is not always right
As economics began to stress mathematical models, economists found that the simplest models to solve were those that assumed everyone in the economy was rational. This is similar to doing physics without bothering with the messy bits caused by friction. s early as 1984 Robert Shiller, the economist, correctly and boldly called this “one of the most remarkable errors in the history of economic thought”.

The case for company-by-company reporting
Aug 4 (Tax Research UK ) - Why company-by-company reporting is the way to go.

Neal Reintroduces Offshore Reinsurance Tax Bill
Aug 5 (Tax-News) – US Congressman Richard E. Neal has resubmitted legislation in the House of Representatives that seeks to curb tax advantages for reinsurance operations based offshore.

Council tax revaluation could penalise homes with a view
Jul 26 (Telegraph) - Thousands of people with views of the sea, mountains or rivers could pay more tax after the next election under plans to overhaul council tax, documents released under the Freedom of Information act have disclosed.

Tax Evaders Flock to IRS to Confess Their Sins
Jul 30 (WSJ) - Wealthy taxpayers have inundated the Internal Revenue Service in recent weeks with requests to come clean for past tax evasion, amid a government crackdown on undeclared income from overseas accounts.

Young conservatives fight for banking secrecy
Aug 4 (swissinfo.ch) - The youth branch of the rightwing Swiss People's Party has joined a campaign to protect banking secrecy by collecting signatures for a people's initiative.

Caymans court orders freeze on $9bn
Jul 30 (FT) - A Cayman Islands court has ordered a worldwide freeze of assets belonging to Maan al Sanea and dozens of his companies in a ruling that steps up the pressure on the Saudi billionaire who is struggling with financial difficulties.

GM’s Tax Shelter
Jul 31 (WSJ) - As everyone else’s taxes rise, one favored outfit may not have to pay federal taxes for years: General Motors. In another sweet deal from its benefactors on Pennsylvania Avenue, the government-owned car company is set to profit from billions of dollars in tax breaks not available to other businesses in the same predicament.

Law to tax cos routing investments via tax havens
Aug 4 (The Hindu Business Line) - The Government is mulling new laws to bring into the tax net domestic companies which deliberately route their overseas investments through tax havens to avoid paying taxes at home.

Sierra Leone Graft Panel Bags Huge Sums From Officials
Aug 4 (AFP)--The Anti-Corruption Commission in Sierra Leone said Monday it has recovered over 1 billion leones ($306 million) for the first six months in 2009 as "settlements from corruption-related cases."

Subsides à gogo, et surtout pas d’impôts
25 Jul (Le Soir) - A look into some material put together with the help of Rudolf Elmer, former chief executive officer of a Cayman subsidiary of Julius Baer bank. In French.

Wächter in der Zwickmühle
Aug 4 (Der Spiegel) - Der Spiegel magazine looks at the anti-corruption organisation Transparency International and its funding sources. In German.



Swiss misinformation in the New York Times
August 3 (TJN) The New York Times is carrying an article by a Swiss ideologue, Pierre Bessard, entitled Leave Swiss Banks Alone. Anyone reading it might be forgiven for thinking that Swiss bank secrecy somehow is a benefit to the world. We would like to correct a few points of fact, and of interpretation.

The Curse of the Heritage Foundation
August 4 (TJN) We can't help noticing that every time the Heritage Foundation (or the Center for Freedom and Prosperity or the Cato Institute) praise a country, usually calling it a "tiger" of some sort -- the country in question soon seems to plunge into some sort of toxic economic spiral.

Tax pain for America
August 4 (TJN) From an analysis conducted by the Associated Press on the fiscal situation facing the United States: "Tax receipts are on pace to drop 18 percent this year, the biggest single-year decline since the Great Depression, while the federal deficit balloons to a record $1.8 trillion."

Developing countries: new research resource
August 4 (TJN) A new website is now available called Raising Tax Revenues, with the support of TJN-Netherlands and partners. Hosted by the Development Policy Review Network, it contains a range of academic and other materials on the subject of taxation and international development -- a field which has been almost entirely neglected for a very long time.

On private information and social uselessness
August 3 (TJN) The Nobel prize-winning economist Paul Krugman has a useful article looking at things such as high-frequency trading. As he says, "If you aren’t outraged, you haven’t been paying attention" (we've noted a more colourful version of this here.)

Non-doms: Britain's integrity postponed
August 3 (TJN) Recently we expressed contentment that at least one thing seems to have been done right: an effort to curb abuse of Britain's democracy by political donors who are not domiciled in the country for tax purposes. Credit where credit is due, and all that.

Tax specialists - in indecent haste?
July 31 (TJN) We linked to this FT story a couple of days ago but now feel it's worth dwelling on.

Tax evaders confess
July 30 (TJN) From the Wall St. Journal: "Wealthy taxpayers have inundated the Internal Revenue Service in recent weeks with requests to come clean for past tax evasion, amid a government crackdown on undeclared income from overseas accounts.

TJN's congressional briefing and a bowl of jello
July 30 (TJN) Recently we blogged a forthcoming Congressional Briefing by Jack Blum and Sarah Lewis of TJN-USA, alongside Raymond Baker of Global Financial Integrity and Bob McIntyre of Citizens for Tax Justice. We now have the document from the Congressional Briefing entitled Tax Evasion and Incorporation Transparency: Show U.S. The Money.



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