Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Links Dec 18

Conference: "Tackling Tax Havens and Illicit Financial Flows - How the EU and Nordic Countries can take the lead" Concord Denmark
High level conference on 28 January 2013, in Copenhagen. Participants include TJN Director John Christensen, EU Commissioner for taxation Algirdas Šemeta, and OECD Centre for Tax Policy and Administration Director Pascal Saint-Amans. Registration deadline is 23 January 2013 - check the link for programme and contacts.

Swiss Court Unable To Block Tax Deals Tax-News

Dec 17 - "The Swiss Federal Court in Lausanne has recently rejected an attempt to block entry into force of the bilateral withholding tax agreements concluded between Switzerland and Germany, the UK, and Austria."

Channel Islands Rebuff UK's FATCA-Style Plans Tax-News
Dec 17 - "Jersey and Guernsey have released a joint statement indicating that they will not sign an enhanced Tax Information Exchange Agreement with British authorities unless the UK's proposed Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA)-style initiative targets global adoption." They claim to be 'clean' and 'transparent' then fight tooth and nail against key transparency schemes. Isle of Man looks a paragon by comparison (which isn't saying much).

New publication: Tax justice as an alternative to austerity of the debt ceiling and fiscal compact TJN Germany blog
Dec 17 - Paper by Nicola Liebert, following a conference jointly organized by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, the Global Policy Forum Europe, MISEREOR and Terre des Hommes together with TJN Germany. See also: links from the TJN Germany blog.

The IMF’s New View on Financial Globalization: A Critical Assessment Boston University Pardee Center
In December 2012, the IMF issued a new “institutional view” on capital account liberalization and the management of capital flows between countries.  In this policy brief, Kevin P. Gallagher, one of the co-chairs of the Pardee Center Task Force on Regulating Global Capital Flows for Long-Run Development, offers his assessment of the IMF’s new position.

How Venezuela blacklisted itself as a tax haven Martin Hearson's blog
Dec 14 - On the European Commission proposing that EU Member States create a blacklist of countries that do not “apply minimum standards of good governance in tax matters. Points out the perils of blacklisting, and why an EU approach with only criteria rather than jurisdictions will be more effective. Cites Jason Sharman,'s paper “Dysfunctional policy transfer in national blacklists”

SFr39.5 million to be returned to Angola swissinfo

Dec 17 - "Switzerland has announced it will return $43 million (SFr39.5 million) in frozen assets to Angola. The money will be used to fund development projects that directly benefit the population of the southern African country ... The backdrop to the restitution are judicial proceedings in Geneva regarding alleged money laundering." The question, as always: how is it that the money was accepted into the Swiss bank accounts in the first place? At least, in a small way, the Swiss are acting; the UK, which is the world's greatest money laundering sink, refuses even to consider such gestures.

Unitary taxation one way to tackle multinationals The Australian Financial Review
Dec 10 - Cites TJN's Mark Zirnsak, on the Australian federal government's tax review panel, arguing for a switch to unitary taxation - as explained here.

Australian Taxation Office Reports On Tax Evasion Crackdown Tax-News

Dec 14 - In July-Septemnber 2012, two people have been prosecuted under Project Wickenby - a cross-agency task force set up in 2006 to prevent the promotion of and participation in the abusive use of "secrecy havens." To date, 28 people have been sentenced under the project. For more on Project Wickenby see here.

Cayman: Offshore Industry autonomy stressed Cayman News Service
Dec 14 - "In the wake of the premier’s arrest ... in connection a number of investigations, including financial irregularities, the body representing the Cayman Islands' financial industry has stressed the independence of the sector and its regulators from the government." Which highlights the fortress-like democratic disconnect between finance and the related populations.

Unfulfilled promise of the end of tax havens Carta Maior
(In Portuguese)
Dec 12 - Commenting on how, following the 2009 G20 statement that the era of tax havens is over, the problem is still rampant. Points out the asymmetry whereby nations such as the U.S. demand tax compliance by their own taxpayers, whilst providing tax haven and secrecy services from their own jurisdiction. Hat tip: Jorge Gaggero.

U.S.: Small Business Owners to Congress: "Need $1 Trillion? Look Offshore" Citizens for Tax Justice
Dec 14 - Reporting on 626 small business owners having signed a letter calling for corporate tax reform, sent by the American Sustainable Business Council, Business for Shared Prosperity, and the Main Street Alliance to Congress and President Obama.

The Second Great Betrayal: Obama and Cameron Decide that Banks are above the Law New Economic Perspectives
Dec 17 - William K. Black observes: "One of the “tells” that reveals how embarrassed Lanny Breuer (head of the Criminal Division) and Eric Holder (AG) are by the disgraceful refusal to prosecute HSBC and its officers for their tens of thousands of felonies are the false and misleading statements made by the Department of Justice (DOJ) about the settlement." See comment on Treasure Islands.

UK: Calls to reform HMRC’s ‘big business’ board The Bureau of Investigative Journalism

Dec 3 - "All four non-executive board members of HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) have extensive links with big business, leading to wide-ranging calls for HMRC to make its key strategic body more representative of British commerce."

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