Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Links - April 8

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

OECD takes four tax havens off blacklist
April 7 (Reuters) - Four finance centres blacklisted last Thursday in a renewed crackdown on tax fraud were taken off the list on Tuesday after committing to international standards on bank information disclosure.

G20: Les gros se ménagent et s’en prennent aux petits
April 8 (e Temps) – The EU is not, or is no longer, defending its small members states against the larger ones. English web translation here.

Sévère passe d’armes entre la Suisse et l’OCDE au sujet du secret bancaire
April 8 (Le Temps) – Switzerland accuses the OECD of having been manipulated by the G20, while the OECD demands that Switzerland ratifies its exchange of information commitments rapidly. Translation.

Tax havens: any real change?

UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown declared "the start of the end" for tax havens as we know them, at the conclusion of last week's G20 summit in London. Is this the beginning of a new era of transparency in banking? TJN's Matti Kohonen debates with Pascal Saint-Amans of the OECD. English version, French version.

Tax haven crackdown not to yield much for India
April 7, 2009,

Cayman Islands plays down "gray" tax haven listing
April 3 (Reuters) - The government of the Cayman Islands, a major Caribbean financial center, said on Friday it was moving to improve its cooperation to fight tax evasion and played down its inclusion on an OECD "gray list."

Northern Rock has £1bn branch in tax haven
April 5 (Times) - GORDON BROWN has been accused of the “height of hypocrisy” for allowing the state-owned Northern Rock to run an offshore bank in the Channel Islands while he is leading a global campaign against tax havens. Northern Rock Guernsey boasts on its website that it is a “major competitor in the offshore retail savings market”.

Swiss to discuss working with U.S. on tax
April 6 (Reuters) - Switzerland will start negotiations with the United States over its existing double-taxation treaty at the end of April, the Swiss ambassador to the United States told Swiss television late on Friday. "The first discussions already took place in Washington last week.

Officials: Nevada not tax Haven : State leaders rebut statement by premier from Luxembourg
April 6 (Las Vegas Review Journal) - The Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations three years ago questioned a deputy secretary of state from Nevada, a Delaware official and others about laws that allow corporations to withhold the identity of their owners. An official told the subcommittee that the Internal Revenue Service was considering "mass audits" of Nevada corporations that do not file tax returns. An IRS official late Friday did not immediately know whether the agency conducted the audits.

The trouble with tax tricks
April 4 (Guardian) - Tax avoidance has created a mirage of large corporate profits, which has turned many a CEO into a media star and even secured knighthoods and peerages for some. Yet the profits have been manufactured by a sleight of hand. Let us get back to the basics.

Estate Tax: Senate Approves a Break for Millionaires that Leader Reid Calls "So Stunning, So Outrageous"
April 3 (CTJ) - Incredibly, 51 Senators voted to approve an amendment offered by Senators Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) and Jon Kyl (R-AZ) to cut the estate tax even more than this. The 2009 estate tax rules exempt the first

Cayman Islands signs tax information agreements with Nordic economies
April 1 (OECD) _ The Cayman Islands has signed bilateral agreements with seven Nordic economies - Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, Norway and the Faroe Islands - on exchange of information for tax purposes.

Sinking assets
April 2 (The Economist) – The Economist changes its tune on tax havens. On Britain’s Crown Dependencies -Richard Murphy, who campaigns against tax havens, argues that, whatever else they may claim, these two Channel Islands rely on secrecy to attract business. If that is stripped away they are “dead in the water”, he says.

Live from the G-20 Summit: Another Blogger Breakthrough
April 2 (Huffington Post) I became the first blogger ever in world history to ask a question at a summit conference to a prime minister who had hosted the meeting. Listen to Richard here.

The strange case of Macau, the tax haven that disappeared
April 3 (BBC) – A reporter digs up some of the behind-the-scenes bargaining over the OECD list.

G20 declares door shut on tax havens
April 2 (Guardian) - The most dramatic crackdown on tax havens was unveiled by G20 leaders at their summit today, paving the way for the naming and shaming of countries that fail to comply with internationally agreed standards. (TJN notes progress, but is rather less enthusiastic.)

Petition on monetary reform
March (No 10) - We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Include international and national monetary reform on the G20 agenda for 2nd April. More details here.

US and Gibraltar agree to share tax information
April 1 (Guardian) - The clampdown on tax havens around the world gathered pace today when the US government and Gibraltar announced an agreement to exchange information on tax matters.

Liechtenstein tax deal edges closer as France begins fraud inquiry
April 1 (Guardian) - The crackdown on tax havens across the world intensified last night as Britain's most senior taxman flew to Switzerland to negotiate a deal that the Treasury hopes will force British companies to stop using bank accounts in Liechtenstein to avoid paying tax.

Michelin, Total, Adidas face money-laundering probe
March 31 (France24) - Tyre maker Michelin, oil firm Total and sports firm Adidas are suspected of evading French taxes via accounts in the Alpine principality of Liechtenstein, French prosecutors said on Tuesday.

March 6 (SUNS) - The "G192", namely, the entire membership of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), is the only credible group to bring about the necessary reforms of the 21st century, in the context of the current global economic and financial crises, the President of the Assembly declared Thursday.

France Hints at Leaving G-20 Summit
MARCH 31 (Reuters) - French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde said President Nicolas Sarkozy would walk away from this week's Group of 20 meeting in London if no progress was made on global financial regulations.

Brown backs new global assault on tax avoidance
April 5 (Observer) - Gordon Brown this weekend increased the likelihood of a co-ordinated global clampdown on aggressive tax avoidance by opening a new front against secret offshore financial centres.


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