Monday, October 15, 2012

Links Oct 15

New rules, tough talk as Singapore seeks to end tax haven image Reuters
Oct 15 - "Billionaire Australians buying exclusive condominiums. Germans moving money from Swiss accounts. Secretive banking laws. Asia's premier wealth management centre. Low tax rates ... the tiny island of 5.3 million people is also accused of being a magnet for tax evaders - an image it is vehemently seeking to banish." Tax havens always deny being tax havens. Singapore's real story is here.

See also:
Tax evasion to Singapore - tax treaty makes it possible  Campact

Oct 15 - Explaining why bilateral agreements don't work, as money quickly and easily shifts between jurisdictions and why the solution is in automatic exchange of information on a multilateral basis. See also comment on TJN Germany Blog.

Norway: tax havens cause significant problems The Foreigner
Oct 12 - A view on use of tax havens by Norwegian people and entities - including Norway's Sovereign Wealth Fund. Cites TJN Norway’s Sigrid Klæboe Jacobsen. Hat tip: Offshore Watch.

Cyprus Review - Holding Companies Tax-News
Sep 11 - "Cyprus is not a particularly convenient base for supplying the CIS and Eastern Europe in physical terms, but that does not prevent companies with interests in those regions from establishing holding companies in Cyprus, and very many do so ..." See also Cyprus on TJN's 2011 Financial Secrecy Index, and last month's Bankrupt Cyprus and the Russian connection.

New Zealand: IRD closing in on income diversion ploys Waikato Times
Oct 15 - "Inland Revenue is pursuing taxpayers who divert income through trusts and companies to take advantage of lower tax rates." We have heard it all before - see here and here.

Transfer pricing may appear mundane but the wellbeing of hundreds of millions of people is at stake Tax Research UK

Oct 15 - "The UN Tax Committee has published a letter that its head of tax, Michael Lennard, received from the US Council for International Business (USCIB) ... To quote @alexcobham , this tells you all you need to know about the flaws of the OECD transfer pricing guidelines to which the USCIB is wedded, and the importance for international development of making progress  on these issues."

New Congolese oil and mining codes must include strong measures on transparency, tenders and community rights Global Witness

Oct 11 - "As the Democratic Republic of Congo begins the process of revising its mining and oil codes, Global Witness has published its recommendations on how the codes could best ensure transparent and accountable management of these key sectors."

U.S: Mitt Romney's Tax Dodge Rolling Stone
Oct 12 - "A guide to how the multimillionaire twists the law to hide his massive fortune ... How does a private-equity kingpin worth at least $250 million pay a lower tax rate – just 14 percent – than many teachers and firemen? By exploiting tax loopholes that favor the rich and hiding his money in the world's most notorious havens for tax cheats." Cites Nick Shaxson's Vanity Fair article. Note also that the widely cited figure of 14 percent is wrong: it was much lower in 2011.

U.S.: Top Ten Tax Moments from the VP Debate Citizens for Tax Justice
Oct 12 - "The first and only Vice Presidential Debate of the election season between Vice President Joe Biden and Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan featured a spirited discussion over their competing visions for tax policy. While watching, we began to genuinely wonder if Biden had spent time reading Citizens for Tax Justice (CTJ) materials considering that time and again he made precisely the points CTJ has been making for years."

How Starbucks avoids UK taxes Reuters
Oct 15 - "Starbucks' coffee menu famously baffles some people. In Britain, it's their accounts that are confusing. Starbucks has been telling investors the business was profitable, even as it consistently reported losses. This apparent contradiction arises from tax avoidance, and sheds light on perfectly legal tactics used by multinationals the world over."

Some of Britain's biggest celebrities urged to claim over failed tax-avoidance schemes This is Money
Oct 13 - "Some of Britain’s biggest celebrities have been caught out in tax-avoidance schemes after a clampdown by Revenue & Customs, but now a claims management company says some are victims of mis-selling and they want compensation from financial advisers."

John Kenneth Galbraith on the Moral Justifications for Wealth and Inequality naked capitalism
Oct 14 - Commentary on "The Manners and Morals of High Capitalism".


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