Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Links Mar 7

Bread and Roses Treasure Islands
Mar 7 - Excellent news - Nick Shaxson's book Treasure Islands is on the shortlist for Bread and Roses, a new prize for radical writing.

Libya acts to seize £10m Gaddafi house in London The Bureau of Investigative Journalism
Mar 2 - Nick Mathiason reports on efforts for stolen asset recovery. The story is also covered in the Guardian.

Vodafone: Undercover investigation exposes Swiss branches
The Bureau of Investigative Journalism
Mar 7 - "Vodafone’s accounts suggest it attributes billions of pounds in profit to branches in the tax haven of Switzerland – but an undercover investigation indicates hardly any business is done there ... Vodafone’s Swiss branches are run by a single part-time bookkeeper, indicating their main purpose is tax avoidance."

Taxez-nous si vous le pouvez: pourquoi l'Afrique doit defendre la justice fiscale Tax Justice Network - Africa
Mar 6 - The French language version of the Tax Us If You Can - Why Africa Should Stand Up for Tax Justice, published last year by TJN-A. The English version is can be downloaded here.

Elites Loot Africa While Foreign Debt Mounts Task Force Blog

Mar 1 - Piece by James Boyce and Léonce Ndikumana, authors of Africa's Odious Debts. "In Africa, capital flight has been driven by the aim of hiding illicitly acquired wealth in safe havens abroad."

Rwanda considers tax reforms to boost faltering revenue TradeMark South Africa
Mar 7 - "Last year, a report by ActionAid estimated that Rwanda is forgoing at least 25 per cent of potential government revenue and 14 per cent of the country’s annual budget in incentives and exemptions to businesses." Hat tip: Sandra Kidwingira.

OECD recommends action on international tax loopholes OECD
Mar 5 - "OECD’s new report Hybrid Mismatch Arrangements: Tax Policy and Compliance Issues describes arrangements that exploit national differences in the tax treatment of instruments, entities or transfers to deduct the same expense in several different countries, to make income “disappear” between countries or to artificially generate several tax credits for the same foreign tax." Hat tip: Bruno Gurtner.

MPs to grill miners, Glencore on tax Reuters

Mar 2 - In the UK, "MPs have invited commodities trader Glencore and other unnamed companies in the resources sector to testify next month as part of an inquiry into tax in developing countries." Hat tip: Jamie Kneen

Switzerland puzzled by Brussels warning swissinfo

Mar 6 - "In a letter sent on Monday, EU taxation commissioner Algirdas Semeta stressed that the 27 member states “should refrain from negotiating, initialling or ratifying agreements with Switzerland” if some of the countries’ provisions interfere with EU legislation." See TJN Blog earlier today on call for progress on the European Savings Tax Directive.

U.S. eases pressure on Switzerland over taxes for now Reuters
Mar 6 - "Swiss lawmakers passed a proposal on Monday allowing Switzerland to hand over data on suspected tax evaders, even if U.S. tax authorities cannot identify alleged offenders by name or bank account ... Asked whether the United States would also demand an automatic exchange of information, like some European countries, Beyer said the United States would focus on applying the new double taxation agreement."

U.S.: Look who pays less in taxes than Buffett and Romney The Hill
Mar 1 - Scott Klinger, tax policy director, Business for Shared Prosperity comments. "One way Congress could address closing loopholes right now is through the Cut Unjustified Tax Loopholes Act introduced by Senators Carl Levin of Michigan and Kent Conrad of North Dakota. It would crack down on offshore tax haven abuses and close tax loopholes."

U.S.: ‘Occupy’ protesters disrupt CERA conference Houston Business Journal
Mar 6 - "About 150 of the “Occupy” movement protesters gathered Tuesday morning in front of the Hilton Americas Hotel in downtown Houston, where oil industry executives were gathered for the annual CERAWeek conference ... Free enterprise is the American way, but pay your fair share.”

U.S.: Cash Hoard Grows by $187 Billion in Untaxed Overseas Profits Bloomberg BusinessWeek

Mar 2 - U.S. companies led by General Electric Co. (GE) and Pfizer Inc. (PFE) stockpiled an additional $187 billion in untaxed overseas profits over the past year, boosting their offshore holdings by 18.4 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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