Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Links - Dec 21

Some links. Apologies for thin posting today.

When zombies win - Krugman
“Ireland,” declared George Osborne in 2006, “stands as a shining example of the art of the possible in long-term economic policymaking.” Whoops. It’s one thing to make deals to advance your goals; it’s another to open the door to zombie ideas. When you do that, the zombies end up eating your brain — and quite possibly your economy too.

MPs banned from US over Charterhouse Daily Nation (Kenya)
The US has slapped a blanket ban on up to 11 MPs who are members of the House Finance, Trade and Planning Committee which tabled a report, passed in parliament, that cleared the scandal-plagued Charterhouse Bank and called for its re-opening. Now there is a motion to expel the U.S. ambassador.

Clegg wants full tax transparency - IoM Today
Asked whether he viewed the Isle of Man as a tax haven, Nick Clegg, leader of the junior party in Britain’s coalition government, rejected the use of such ‘artificial labels’. Coward.

The World Bank’s Slippery Advocacy of Tax Cuts - Progressive Economics
On the World Bank’s doing business rankings. The best scores go to countries with both ultra-low tax rates and streamlined administration.

Rock of wages: online gaming keeps Gibraltar's residents at work - Guardian
Gibraltar's gambler-friendly laws and tax regimes are turning it into a virtual Las Vegas. while British-based web operations paid a 15% gross profits tax and a 10% racing industry levy, offshore operators paid as little as 1.5% in tax . Under EU legal challenge, taxes will now rise, but “Nobody will leave.” An estimated 200,000 Spaniards bet €575m online in 2009. Unless they are honest enough to declare them, they pay no taxes on their winnings. Straightforward criminal abuse, courtesy of a UK Overseas Territory.

Proposal to Mauritius for Clampdown on Fund Transfers Outlook India
Concerned over high volume of black money routing to the country as investment, New Delhi has approached the Mauritius government to curb such fund transfer. These officials will have to be incorruptible, and will need rocks in their head the size of Gibraltar if they are to resist the repression, lures, pressures and blandishments they will face on a daily basis.

UK tax authorities morale at rock bottom - PCS
Years of cuts and under-resourcing at HM Revenue and Customs have led to rock-bottom morale, with staff saying they have little confidence in their senior managers. In the latest departmental staff survey (pdf), only 11% of respondents expressed any positive confidence in senior managers’ decisions, with just 12% believing HMRC is managed well and only 15% believing the senior management team has a clear vision for the future.
Hardly surprising, in light of all the sweetheart deals, attacks and cutbacks.

$2tn debt crisis threatens to bring down 100 US cities - Guardian
“We spent money we didn't have. We borrowed money just crazily. The credit card's maxed out, and it's over” Yikes. This could ignite tax debates.

India Has Created 10 Overseas Income Tax Units - Taxnews
The Indian Government has created 10 overseas income tax units and two of these, in Mauritius and Singapore, have already become operational. These offices will be used for the exchange of information, speeding up of the resolution of tax disputes and also assistance in transfer-pricing cases. These folk will have to be iron-willed and uncorruptible, or they will succumb to the lures and pressures.

Ordinance on the Administrative Assistance according to Double Taxation Conventions = Switzerland
The link to the English version of the Swiss ordonnance on international administrative assistance in tax matters. The rules for requests for administrative assistance are substantially more restrictive than OECD Article 26... The ordonnance will soon be transformed into a law project (with public consultation beginning in mid-January)

Germany raises 1.6 bln euros from tax evaders - AFP
German tax authorities recovered 1.6 billion euros this year from citizens who had stashed their cash in secret accounts in Liechtenstein and Switzerland, according to the weekly Der Spiegel.. . thanks to secret banking data from both countries which they had acquired relatively cheaply. Excellent value for money.

Auditors Face Fraud Charge - WSJ
New York Set to Allege Ernst & Young Stood By as Lehman Cooked Its Books. This would mark the first time a major accounting firm was targeted for its role in the financial crisis

Johann Hari: Your right to protest is under threat - Independent
When our politicians complained over the past few decades, in a low, sad tone, that our young people were “too apathetic” and “disengaged”, it was a lie. A great flaring re-engagement of the young has take place this year. With overwhelmingly peaceful tactics, they are demanding policies that are supported by the majority of the British people – and our rulers are trying to truncheon, kettle and intimidate them back into apathy.

Tax avoidance, tax compliance – and tax cheats - Tax Research.
On the differences between tax avoidance and tax compliance

BAE to admit failure in accounts records - FT
Lawyers say the case is likely to embarrass both BAE and former executives by detailing the convoluted and at times murky arrangements through which the company deployed agents to act on its behalf, often paying them through opaque tax havens.

The philosophical significance of UK-Uncut - Open Democracy
ethics and ideology are once more at the forefront of political contest in Britain

Why don't Britain's rich give to charity like wealthy Americans? - Daily Mail
the ­richest third of donors in Britain actually give less to charity, as a proportion of their earnings, than the poorest third. Americans who earn more than £150,000 a year give a staggering eight times as much to charity as do their British counterparts. We in Britain have lost sight of our own history of philanthropy. This week the Mail revealed that several of this country’s biggest companies are moving their headquarters abroad in order to avoid paying tax in Britain.

How corporate tax evasion can be tackled worldwide - FT letter
A treaty should provide for an objective definition of which taxable activity falls within which tax jurisdiction, based on the location of production, sales and management, and render the notion of an “official domicile” redundant. One possible approach to unitary taxation with formulary apportionment - see here for more background.

Lady Green’s dividend was funded by a loan - FT letters
From someone who doesn't understand what constitutes tax avoidance (see here) - but makes an interesting point to counter those who say that dividends were paid out of profits that had already been taxed in the UK.


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