Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Links Apr 24

Nicholas Shaxson vs. Anthony Travers on the Today programme: economic warfare Treasure Islands
Apr 24 - Interview with Anthony Travers, chairman of the Cayman Stock Exchange.

Indian tax system, black money and tax havens The Economic Times

Apr 24 - The piece somewhat misleadingly asserts - "The G20/OECD have successfully persuaded tax havens to improve tax transparency and participate in an international regime of information exchange" - and concludes - "we need a public debate on keeping India's status as a competitive investment destination: either by preserving the tax-haven route (albeit with restrictions) or by adopting the OECD model." The author happens to be a private equity professional.

Why does India Inc speak for foreign firms trying to avoid taxes: R S Gujral Business Standard

Apr 24 - "Finance Secretary R S Gujral defended the proposed retrospective amendments to the Income Tax Act, and asked why Indian industry was speaking on behalf of those routing investments through tax havens."

India presses for automatic exchange of tax info at G20  The Times of India

Apr 21 - "Worried over the spurt in cross-border transactions and tax evasion, India has pressed for automatic exchange of information among the countries to deal with the menace."

India Reassures US On Retrospective Tax Plans Tax-News
Apr 23 - "Finance Minister Shri Pranab Mukherjee has defended plans for retrospective tax legislation, telling the US Secretary of the Treasury that the proposals merely clarify the intent of current laws."

Income taxes across the world [infographic] Asian Correspondent

Apr 24 - "Death and income tax are the only things certain in this world. Of course that quote doesn’t put the tax evaders and the tax havens in the picture. Unlike death, income tax can be evaded. Not that you should. Living in India, I thought taxes were high. But this interactive infographic has shown what a taxing world we are living in..."

London Invokes Clause To Improve Swiss Tax Deal Tax-News
Apr 23 - " Given the mounting criticism to the tax deal in the UK, London is rather unsurprisingly determined to pacify opponents by improving the basic conditions of the agreement." See the TJN analysis on "Rubik".

Swiss hope to solve tax row with US this year swissinfo

Apr 22 - "Washington wants information from 11 Swiss banks on assets held by US citizens in its drive to crack down on tax dodgers. In the negotiations underway since 2010, the Swiss government seeks a global solution for all 320 Swiss banks to end a legal battle with the US over undeclared bank accounts."

Economic warfare and Switzerland Tax Research UK
Apr 23 - Richard Murphy on - According to Reuters: "Attacks on Switzerland as a tax haven constitute an "economic war" by rivals who want to hurt the country's big banks and its strength as a financial centre, UBS Chief Executive Sergio Ermotti was quoted as saying."

Minister accused of money-laundering via UBS swissinfo

Apr 23 - "Swiss bank UBS has got caught up in allegations of money-laundering and timber corruption by a Malaysian minister in the Borneo rainforest."

UK big business in ‘fightback’, losing battle to Uncut and Tax Justice Network Treasure Islands

Apr 23 - From the Observer newspaper, on the Confederation of British Industry (CBI,) "John Cridland, the CBI’s nerdy director general, is hardly the man for a punch-up. But in a sunny Westminster conference room last Thursday, he launched what he bullishly called a “fightback”. Launching a document called Tax and British business: making the case, it is a lobbying effort.

See also:
Press watch: Tax havens and the CBI's business tax campaign Tax Journal

Apr 23 - "Big firms boast about the tax they pay – but they're not leaving the Caymans"


UK: Setting up a company can amount to ‘aggressive tax avoidance’, Cameron tells BBC Tax Journal

Apr 23 - "Setting up a company specifically to avoid tax is ‘aggressive tax avoidance’ and should be distinguished from investment in pensions or genuine start-up businesses, the Prime Minister suggested". See recent TJN blog on Cameron and tax havens.

Squeezing ordinary people's finances always leads to disaster Guardian
Apr 23 - Prem Sikka - "Britain's rate of wealth transference from employees and the state to corporations is unmatched in any developed country."

The Facts on FATCA: New Rules Set to Reshape Global Wealth Management
CFA Institute

Apr 23 - "Are we witnessing the beginning of the end for bank secrecy laws? Regulators in the United States and Europe have been chipping away at bank secrecy for some time now. But two recent developments suggest that efforts are not only intensifying but also becoming more globally coordinated ..." See TJN analysis of FATCA.

See also: “Beyond FATCA: An Evolutionary Moment for the International Tax System
The above article cites this recent paper by Itai Grinberg of the Georgetown University Law Center:  - the global tax regime “is in the midst of a novel contest between information reporting and anonymous withholding models for ensuring that states have the ability to tax offshore accounts.”

Mankiw's Ode to the Governmental Competition that Made Romney Wealthy Benzinga

Apr 23 - Article by William K. Black - see the section on International Tax Competition.

Stockholders' meetings a place to shine light on dodgy bank behavior Examiner

Apr 23 - "This spring, the 99% are taking action at more than 30 stockholder meetings to challenge the banks and their methods of not paying their fair share of taxes."

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