Tuesday, August 12, 2008

International News - August 12

UN pushes higher priority for tax cooperation

Aug 12 (TJN) Highly promising signals are now emerging from the United Nations, which is preparing a summit meeting of world leaders in Doha in November-December this year. Several crucial issues that TJN has been pushing for are now firmly on the agenda.

Political Philosophy & Taxation: An Interdisciplinary Conference, 11-12 September 2008, UCL
This conference on Political Philosophy and Taxation will address how states’ activities should best be funded. It brings together leading political philosophers and other scholars working at the intersection of political philosophy, economics, law and social policy. It will cover tax in political philosophy, and facilitate interdisciplinary dialogue. The list of speakers is impressive. Featuring TJN’s Richard Murphy.

Many Firms Didn't Pay Taxes
August 12 (Wash. Post) - About two-thirds of corporations operating in the United States did not pay taxes annually from 1998 to 2005, according to a new report scheduled to be made public today from the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

Meet the rich
Aug 4 (Guardian) - The gap between rich and poor is wider than ever. But that doesn't seem to bother Britain's wealthiest earners. In an extract from their new book, Polly Toynbee and David Walker describe the jaw-dropping arrogance they encountered when they asked some of thefat cats to justify their lives of luxury

MNC taxation: let’s have country-by-country reporting now
Aug 8 (Tax Research) - Accountancy Age reports that “Multi-national companies would be prepared to open their books to convince the Treasury to introduce a tax exemption for inbound dividends.” Let’s get real here. There are two important messages in this: 1) HM Revenue & Customs do not know the structure of the MNCs they tax; 2) Those multinationals have no intention of telling them. So why aren’t HMRC coming out strongly in support of country-by-country reporting

Cayman hedge funds pass 10,000 mark
Aug 11 (AccountancyAge) - The Cayman Islands Monetary Authority's latest figures show the Cayman Islands financial services industry has passed the 10,000-mark of investment funds registered in the jurisdiction. At the end of June, 10,037 funds were on the authority's register compared with 9,681 at the end of the previous quarter and 8972 in mid 2007, according to its figures. The current annual growth rate is 12%.

Right-Wing Spin Machine Uses Misleading Figures to Argue that the Tax Code Is More Progressive Under Bush
Aug 8 (CTJ) - A recent Wall Street Journal editorial1 touts new figures from the IRS2 as evidence that the rich are actually paying a higher share of federal taxes under President Bush and that the tax code has, therefore, become more progressive over the past eight years. Do the rich pay too much in taxes? Has the tax code become more progressive? Of course not.

Nonpartisan Group Accuses McCain of Multiple Distortions of Obama's Tax Record
Aug 10 (Taxprof) - The non-partisan FactCheck.org has released a report charging that John McCain has released three new ads with multiple false and misleading claims about Barack Obama's tax proposals.

Nigeria: Citizens Should Pay Taxes - Board Chairman
Aug 1 (AllAfrica) The newly appointed Executive Chairman of Kaduna State Board of Internal Revenue, Alhaji Ahmed Jibril, has urged Nigerians to imbibe the habit of paying taxes, as another way of assisting the constituted authorities to serve them better

Liberia: 'We've done Nothing Wrong' - BRE Boss, As Dr. Tolbert Makes First Comments

Aug 5 (AllAfrica) - Buchanan Renewable Energies (BRE) has sharply reacted to reports of tax waiver saying it has done nothing wrong during the negotiation process with the Government of Liberia.

UK tax authorities intensify crackdown on offshore accounts
Aug 11 Gary Ashford, a tax investigations director at Grant Thornton, says, "The Treasury has been progressively tightening the net on offshore accounts for some time and it is now getting to a point that those with money held offshore, whether acting rightly or wrongly, are likely to feel some heat from HMRC in the near future."

I.R.S. Offers Big Banks, Others Settlements on Tax Shelters
Aug 7 (NYT) - More than 45 major U.S. companies, including big banks, are being offered settlements to get rid of abusive tax shelters, the Internal Revenue Service said on Wednesday.

Thaksin flees Thailand corruption trial and returns to exile in Britain
11 Aug (Guardian) - Ousted Thai prime minister skips bail with wife after her conviction for fraud. Travels to London. See also here: http://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2008/08/12/shinawatra-has-to-go-back/
and here http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/01/world/asia/01thai.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=tax&st=cse&oref=slogin

Lousy economy threatens states' sales tax holidays
10 Aug (AP) - Thousands of US shoppers have been flocking to malls in more than a dozen states for back-to-school sales tax holidays, buying millions of dollars worth of clothes and school supplies — and depriving states of much-needed revenue.

Swiss: Fine 5 Zurich bankers for money laundering
6 Aug (AP) - Swiss prosecutors on Wednesday demanded fines of up to 40,000 Swiss francs (US$38,000) for five Zurich bankers on trial for allegedly helping a ring of corrupt Brazilian tax officials launder US$45 million.

Clampdown on temps tax relief
11 Aug (FT) - The “widespread abuse” of a £300m ($575m) tax break for some temporary workers is under attack by the Treasury, which is considering reversing a concession for travel expenses it introduced 10 years ago.

IRS cracks down on leasing tax shelters
7 Aug (FT) - Top US banks and other companies that use complex leasing deals to defer billions of dollars in taxes have been told to terminate them by the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS is ramping up efforts to clamp down on aggressive corporate tax shelters.

The true meaning behind 'fair value' accounting
Aug 9 (The Royal Gazette) - Roger Crombie decries the “maddest, least prudent piece of accounting hoo-hah in history.”

Poll Finds Wide Support for Tax on Millionaires
6 Aug (NYT) - By a margin of almost 4 to 1 — and even a solid majority among registered Republicans — New York State voters support raising the state income tax on people who make more than $1 million a year, according to poll results released on Wednesday morning by Quinnipiac University.

Property tax is not theft
10 Aug (NYT) - Liberal Democrats are right to backtrack on the idea of a local income tax. Jonathan Calder rather prefers taxing property – it's harder to avoid.

Vanished tycoon named in tax haven inquiry
10 Aug (Sunday Times) - Thefirst of hundreds of rich Britons being investigated over secret LGT bank accounts has been identified as Michael Miskin, 65, a property magnate thought to have fled to South America.

Conning the Congo: $15 billion in capital flight
Jul 30 (Tax Justice Network) - Two reports have just emerged highlighting the scale of transfer pricing abuses and capital flight from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), one of Africa's most poverty-stricken and conflicted nations.

Super-Rich Tax Cheats (VIDEO)
Jul 28 (Huffington Post) - They hide an estimated $100 billion a year from the IRS, but now the U.S. Senate is turning up the heat on offshore tax havens. The man who ratted out some of these tax dodgers now lives in hiding and has a $10 million bounty on his head. This is a story straight out of our new Gilded Age -- one of billionaires, foreign bankers, corruption, secrecy and, of course, greed.

How to Find America's Tax Havens
Jul 30 (CFO.com) - KPMG ranks San Juan, Baltimore, and Atlanta as the cities most favorable to companies from a tax standpoint. The costliest? San Jose, New York City, and San Diego.

Data handover could boost German crusade against tax evaders
Aug 4 (FT) - Germany's pursuit of tax evaders with secret assets in Liechtenstein could gain momentum after a man facing charges related to handling bank data from the Alpine principality gave documents to authorities.


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