Monday, February 23, 2009

Links - Feb 23

** Also see our searchable archive of past story summaries; and Offshore Watch. **

Vatican demands closure of tax havens
Feb 23 (Economic Times) - The official statement from the Vatican, called an encyclical, is expected to ask for a closure of such tax havens. The encyclical is scheduled to be released on March 18 by Pope Benedict XVI.

Labour's a bit late with the Swiss roll
Feb 22 (Observer) - Alistair Darling and Gordon Brown have suddenly launched an unlikely crusade against Switzerland. Labour has only jumped now because it finds itself in danger of being completely outflanked.

France says U.S. warming to its tax haven policy
PARIS (Reuters) - French Economy Minister Christine Lagarde said on Monday her U.S. counterpart, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, was moving closer to European countries' position on tax havens.

UBS - shouldn’t they be shut down in the UK now as an improper person to offer financial advice?
Feb 23 (Tax Research) - UBS is a bank now proven to be guilty of systemic fraud. The US Department for Justice is suggesting it assisted at least 52,000 people evade their US tax obligations. How many cases in the UK? Who is officially asking? Who is investigating? Who is reporting?

McCreevy has lost control of brief, says critic
February 23 (Irish Independent) - The head of a European political party said EU Commissioner Charlie Mr McCreevy was resisting regulation of the financial markets and that Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso had now taken over his brief.

The sordid legacy of the end of empire
Feb 22 (Observer) - VS Naipaul's essays in The Overcrowded Barracoon: Naipaul had toured the West Indies in the late Sixties as they were considering breaking away from the British Empire, tiny colonies "set adrift, part of the jetsam of an empire," he wrote. How were they going to make a living? The Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London replied. The fragments of empire, those specks of land with apparently no viable future, would survive by turning themselves into tax havens.

Darling denounces Swiss secrecy
Feb 22 (Observer) - Alistair Darling has launched a blistering attack on Switzerland, suggesting its banks' refusal to end centuries of secrecy is "intolerable".

A Securities Transaction Tax Could Raise Revenue -- But Why Not Simply Remove the Loopholes for Investors in the Existing Income Tax?

Feb 21 (CTJ) - On a bill that would impose a 0.25% tax on securities transactions to pay for Wall Street bailouts. There's another proposal we like better. Congress should simply eliminate the loophole in the income tax for long-term capital gains and corporate stock dividends, which subjects these forms of income to a top rate of just 15 percent.

Added to our quotations page:
The true measure of a career is to be able to be content, even proud, that you succeeded through your own endeavors without leaving a trail of casualties in your wake.
Alan Greenspan, June 1999

US Senate delays tax haven hearing over UBS-paper
Feb 22 (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations has delayed a hearing on tax haven banks and a bid to get details of U.S. clients with Swiss accounts, to allow the events of the last week to be "digested", according to an unnamed source.

European G-20 Nations Seek Crackdown on Tax Havens (Update1)
Feb. 22 (Bloomberg) -- European leaders said they will crack down on tax havens as they seek to boost transparency and apply uniform rules governing financial markets to stem the global crisis.

Les paradis fiscaux en ligne de mire des Européens
Feb 22 (20 minutes) –Angela Merkel asks for an “ambitious result” from the G-20, notably asking for sanctions against tax havens. Sarkozy: “We want to close down tax havens . . . we want material results, with a list of tax havens and consequences.” Translated from the original French.


Blogger Physiocrat said...

They don't get it, do they? People are mobile. Firms have a worldwide existence. With a bit of clever book-keeping, profits can be made to disappear or pop up anywhere. There are whole libraries written about tax havens. They are not bedside reading but the best brains in the world are highly paid to squander their talent in exploiting all the opportunities.

This is not something that can be stopped by crack-downs. If anything, it will move the whole activity into a more shadowy criminal area.

There is a simple solution. Tax liability must to be tied to the holding of land titles. There is no way to avoid it and compliance is readily enforced, since land cannot be moved to a tax haven. If governments are not willing to implement this reform, all the protests are mere posturing.

2:56 am  

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