Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Links - Feb 11

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

CTJ Ranks the Six Worst Tax Cuts in the Senate Stimulus Bill

Feb 10 (CTJ) - The economic stimulus bill the Senate approved today includes several tax cuts not in the stimulus bill approved by the House of Representatives two weeks ago and which should be excluded from the final bill. 
Senators mostly removed government spending that economists believe will stimulate the economy -- like aid to state governments, school construction, food stamps -- while they left in most of the regressive tax cuts. A new report from Citizens for Tax Justice.

Ahoy there, me hearties - all aboard for a life of luxury
Feb 10 (Jersey Evening Post) - Jersey should consider branching out into the increasingly lucrative field of international piracy. John Christensen should be the shoo-in chairman of the Offshore Pirates for Justice campaign. With tongue firmly in cheek.

Lloyds faces accusations of tax avoidance
Feb 11 (Guardian) - Huge loans to American financial institutions were disguised as commercial investments for tax purposes, it is alleged in a case against the bank being brought by HM Revenue & Customs, a department of the Treasury. As a result, the money from the deals was treated differently for tax purposes on each side of the Atlantic.

Digging deeper into Barclays' tax tricks
Feb 11 (Guardian) - On Friday the Guardian exposed some of Barclays' weird and wonderful tax avoidance schemes. Now for some numbers from the bank's accounts hinting at even wackier arrangements.

Show us the money
Feb 11 (Guardian) - While a minister, I criticised EU banking secrecy at a seminar attended by my Luxembourg opposite number. He asked: "Have you ever examined UK trust law? All our bankers and financial lawyers say that if you really, really want to hide money, go to London and set up a trust." Repeats about an old canard about Swiss bank secrecy.

Reader response: lessons from the valleys
Feb 11 (Guardian) - The HMRC's approach to training and retaining tax investigators has echoes of the coal industry

Banks and tax avoidance: HMRC responds
Feb 11 (Guardian) - To put it simply, the securitisation vehicles that were so profitable that the banks couldn't generate enough of them were often such good deals because of the tax avoidance central to them.

Charity's registration 'annulled' after $56M goes to tax shelter
In what appears to be a first, Canada's national charity regulator has admitted that it made a mistake in approving the registration of a Toronto charity. One result of that mistake? Most of the $56.5 million donated over a recent two-year period went into a bogus tax shelter scheme, rather than funding charitable projects.


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