Saturday, June 06, 2009

Links - June 6

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

IRS should do company audits with other countries: Shulman
June 3 (Sydney M Herald) - US Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Douglas Shulman said the agency should audit multinational corporations jointly with other countries as part of a growing coordination in enforcing tax laws. Read his full speech here.

HMRC Releases Details Of New UK Offshore Amnesty, by Robert Lee,, London
June 5 (Tax-News) - UK’s HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has announced initial details of the new offshore bank account disclosure scheme, which is due to commence in the autumn of 2009.

The corporate death-grip on reform
June 4 (Guardian) Two years after the banking crisis hit the newspaper headlines, there is still no sign of any radical reforms. One of the reasons for this is the capture of the state by corporate interests. By Prem Sikka.

Give the people their resource wealth
June 4 (FT) One solution to the “Resource Curse” has been dismissed in policy circles. It needs to become part of the policy toolkit, so that if a politician or country wants it, help is at hand. By TJN’s Nicholas Shaxson.

Luxembourg signs tax deal with France to improve image
June 3 (Reuters) Luxembourg Budget Minister Luc Frieden said he hoped the Grand Duchy would have signed 15 double-taxation deals by the end of 2009 that meet OECD standards on information exchange.

Hedge funds may quit UK over draft EU laws
June 3 (FT) Some of Britain’s biggest hedge funds have warned the UK Treasury they will be forced to leave the country unless a draft European directive is radically changed. Let them leave.

Time Warner's Well-Timed Tax Break
June 2 (Washington Post) Time Warner's pending deal to unburden itself of AOL by dumping the ailing firm onto its shareholders is one of those times, thanks to an insight I got from tax guru Bob Willens of Robert Willens LLC.

Tax officials on trail of wealth hidden offshore
May 30 (FT`) A worldwide crackdown on avoidance and evasion by the wealthy was launched yesterday by more than 30 countries, which promised a joint pursuit of individuals hiding money offshore.

Chip Maker Xilinx Loses Tax Ruling
May 29 (WSJournal) - "It's the most important transfer-pricing decision in this country in 20 years," said H. David Rosenbloom, an international tax attorney at Caplin & Drysdale. "It goes to the question of how broad the IRS's power is."

The Chicago School is eclipsed
May 29 (The Week) Richard Posner, leader of the Chicago School of Economics and Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals judge, uses his new book, “A Failure of Capitalism,” to try to rescue the Chicago School’s foundational assumption that the economy behaves as if all economic agents and actors are rational, far-sighted calculators.

Luxembourg, U.S. agree to exchange bank information for tax purposes
20 May (OECD.ORG) Luxembourg has signed an agreement for the exchange of bank information on request in all tax matters with the U.S., marking a major step forward in international efforts to counter tax evasion. This is the first agreement by Luxembourg with an OECD country which meets the OECD standard for information exchange.

UN-HABITAT gives Somaliland tax collector a big boost
April 3 (UN Habitat) A Geographic Information System (GIS) established in Hargeisa Municipality with technical assistance from UN-HABITAT has helped to increase annual property tax revenues by 248 percent, from USD169,062 in 2005 to USD588,754 in 2008.

Jersey To Introduce Depositors' Compensation Scheme
June 4 (Tax-News) - The Minister for Economic Development has lodged draft legislation for the introduction of a Depositors' Compensation Scheme in Jersey. The draft Banking Business (Depositors Compensation) (Jersey) Regulations 200- will be debated by the States on July 14, 2009.

TJN blogs summaries:

Switzerland: companies in one tax haven seek other tax havens
June 5 (TJN) Recently we have highlighted separate reports, one by the US General Accountability Office (GAO) looking at US companies, and subsequently by TJN looking at companies in the UK, the Netherlands and France, which looked at where these companies had their tax haven subsidiaries.

UK Treasury may scrap anti-tax-avoidance measure
June 5 (TJN) Thanks to our colleague Paul Sagar, who first raised the alarm on this, an important story has appeared in The Guardian.

New evidence on Bush's tax amnesty
June 5 (TJN) "It was called the “Homeland Investment Act,” and was sold to Congress as a way to spur investment in America, building plants, increasing research and development and creating jobs. It gave international companies a large one-time tax break on overseas profits, but only if the money was used for specified investments in the United States."

Paxman asks where Ashcroft is resident for tax
June 4 (TJN) This is fabulous. There have long been questions over the tax status of Lord Ashcroft, one of Britain's most well-known offshore operators and the Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party, about whether he is resident of the UK for tax purposes. This is about Britain's notorious domicile rule.

Christian Aid's Alternative Tax Awards on Youtube
June 4 (TJN) We recently remarked on Christian Aid's Alternative Tax Awards. Now you can see it on YouTube.

British aid joins up its thinking
June 4 (TJN) The UK's parliament has produced a new report entitled Aid Under Pressure: Support for Development Assistance in a Global Economic Downturn.

Country by Country reporting in Financial Times, New York Times
June 2 (TJN) The New York Times has a good editorial today which looks at recent work by Global Witness. A longer piece focusing on country-by-country reporting is in the FT.

OECD Forum in Paris - helping taxpayers fight abuse?
June 2 (TJN) The OECD forum on tax administration met in Paris on May 28-29. As happened last time in Cape Town, some pleasing results have emerged. And we had a colleague who attended the press conference, which produced some interesting results.

Conclusions from EU / Latin America Caribbean Forum in Montevideo
June 1 (TJN) Last month we blogged on the recent expert forum in Montevideo, Uruguay on the challenges of fiscal policy in response to the deepening crisis in the LAC (Latin American and Caribbean) region. We now have a copy of the concluding messages from this forum, and draw your attention to the following issues which, amongst others, our Director John Christensen raised at the forum:

Bernard Kouchner Calls for Currency Transaction Tax
June 1 (TJN) The French foreign minister surprised his audience, and not least the British, in the annual meeting of the Leading Group on Innovative Finance for Development, by proposing to implement the Currency Transaction Tax (CTT).

Britain's skewed middle
June 1 (TJN) - The Trades Union Congress (TUC) in Britain published a detailed pamphlet last week looking at the British middle classes, and find that the media has been living under something of an illusion - the middle classes appear to have been doing better than they actually have been.


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