Thursday, February 23, 2012

Links Feb 23

99 to 1: How wealth Inequality is Wrecking the World and What we can Do About It
New book by Chuck Collins: "The focus of the worldwide Occupy protests is creating a world that works for 99% of people and businesses, not just the richest and most powerful 1%. But who are the 99%? Who are the 1%? How extensive and systemic is inequality in different areas of society? What are its causes and consequence? How is inequality changing in our world? And what can be done about it?"

Colombia, KRG, Peru: so where are those “published” Oil Contracts? OpenOil
Feb 21 - "There is an ever increasing level of interest in the debate around contract transparency in the global extractives industries, and a growing minority of jurisdictions which have agreed to publish contracts openly. However winning the argument is only the first chapter in the story as I discovered recently looking at Colombia, Peru and Iraqi Kurdistan. ..."

Greece: signs international tax agreement to tackle tax evasion OECD

Feb 22 - Greece has signed the Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters. See blog and TJN Briefing Paper on the Multilateral Convention here. Hat tip: Bruno Gurtner.

See also:
Greece is strengthening its tools against tax evasion Le Temps
(In French, subscription required)
Feb 23 - "The "task force" appointed by the commission to help estimated uncollected taxes to be 60 billion euros".

See also:
Greek accounts are being frozen in Swiss banks Handelszeitung (In German)

Feb 22 - On the story of a money laundering investigation involving Swiss bank accounts belonging to former banker and businessman Lavrentis Lavrentiadis, now under investigation for fraud.

Apple Reports High Rate but Saves Billions on Taxes
Feb 13 - Marty Sullivan reports: "By taking advantage of lax U.S. transfer pricing rules, Apple Inc., the world's most valuable company, cut its federal tax bill by billions of dollars in 2011. Moreover, by taking advantage of flexible accounting rules, the company masked its tax avoidance by reporting a relatively high effective tax rate ..." See Nick Shaxson's earlier observation on Apple here.

Income tax department asks for review of Vodafone tax ruling India Today
Feb 18 - The income tax department has filed a in the Supreme court challenging the January ruling that Vodafone should not have to pay capital gains tx avoided through tx havens. See story blogged earlier: Vodafone defeats India in landmark $2.9bn tax case.

France and Germany push for coordination Europolitics

Feb 17 - "France and Germany plan to spell out, at the Ecofin Council on 21 February, the work they have already carried out to strengthen their bilateral cooperation on corporate taxation. Their goal is not to short-circuit the EU’s debate on introducing a common consolidated corporate tax base (CCCTB), but on the contrary to help take it forward by presenting certain technical solutions to the problems involved."

U.S.: What Is the Revenue-Maximizing Tax Rate? Social Science Research Network
Feb 20 - "Barack Obama has proposed raising taxes on the well-to-do, both for revenue and distributional reasons. This raises, anew, the question of what the revenue-maximizing top rate is. Conservatives continually assert that the United States is always on the wrong side of the "Laffer Curve," such that a tax rate reduction will increase revenues. A review of recent literature on this subject, however, indicates that the top tax rate could rise very substantially before a further increase would lead to lower revenues. Estimates suggest that this rate is at least 63 percent and probably much higher. "

Switzerland: Party ends for easy corporate tax relief swissinfo

Feb 20 - "The Federal Audit Office has denounced the generous tax breaks granted to companies up to 2007 under the pretext of aiding disadvantaged regions."

Switzerland Sets Tax, Secrecy Revamp Wall Street Journal
Feb 23 - On a story blogged here. "'The U.S. and the major European Union countries have made clear progress in recent weeks in regulating the exchange of [tax] information, and if Switzerland would give up its counterproductive resistance to such exchanges, it could help formulate future rules on cross-border banking business,' said EvB spokesman Andreas Missbach."

Cognitive dissonance: the Swiss want to clean up space Treasure Islands
Feb 19 - Nick Shaxson poses a question to people from Switzerland: “how do you reconcile the fact that Swiss people have a reputation for being among the world’s politest, tidiest, quietest, best-groomed, best-behaved and most apparently upstanding citizens – while at the same time their country has for decades had the reputation of being the gigantic sink for the world’s dirtiest loot?


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