Friday, July 10, 2009

Links - July 10

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

Treaty Conveys Little Power to Break Swiss Bank Secrecy
Jul 8 (Washington Post) - A new treaty touted as helping U.S. law enforcement crack Swiss bank secrecy may do little to help authorities achieve a prime objective: exposing tax evaders.

Escaping the shakedown
Jul 2nd (The Economist) - Governments are not raising corporate taxes. Despite budget deficits and a widespread belief that corporate greed precipitated the credit crunch, governments do not seem inclined to tax businesses more. This is all the more remarkable given that corporate-tax rates in many countries are far lower than they were in the 1990s

The government prevented me from stopping tax avoidance
Jul 8 (Tax Research UK) - Michael Meacher complains he could not promote the general anti- avoidance principle I wrote for him and the Lib Dems:

Bern to block UBS record transfer to US
Jul 8 (FT) - The Swiss government on Wednesday waded into the legal battle between UBS and the US authorities by saying it would forbid the bank from handing over confidential client information, if a crucial court case next week required it.

Luxembourg says removed from tax haven "grey list"
Jul 8 (Reuters) - Luxembourg has been removed from a "grey list" of countries seen by the OECD as lacking financial transparency, Budget Minister Luc Frieden said on Wednesday.

Tax havens to come under govt scanner
Jul 8 (Economic Times) - The government is set to track the unaccounted wealth stashed away by Indians in tax havens, with the Budget proposing double-taxation avoidance treaties, or a Tax Information Exchange Agreement, with what it describes as ‘non-sovereign’ jurisdictions.

Germany gives info on black money of Indians
Jul 7 (Central Chronicle) - German authorities have given India the information available with them regarding the Indian nationals having accounts in LGT Bank of Liechtenstein under the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) between the two countries, the Rajya Sabha was informed today.

Empirical Evidence on the Effects of Tax Incentives
Jul 1 (IMF) - This paper by Alexander Klemm and Stefan Van Parys considers two empirical questions about tax incentives: (1) are incentives used as tools of tax competition and (2) how effective are incentives in attracting investment?

A general anti-avoidance principle is in sight
Jul 8 (Tax Research UK) - The General Anti-Avoidance Principle I drafted was not officially on the agenda during the Finance Bill debate yesterday, but Michael Meacher and John Pugh in combination made very sure it was debated none the less – and for a considerable period of time.

How Obama could introduce a petrol tax
Jul 6 (FT) - If a petrol tax is as good an idea as the consensus takes it to be, why is it so politically dangerous that US politicians will not touch it? Four political forces combine to kill off significant petrol taxes.

The tax crackdown that could net you £700 a year
Jul 4 (Independent) - Governments are being urged to shake up the way tax havens operate before the next G20 meeting later this summer, writes Neasa MacErlean.

New York May Check Insurance Firms' Compliance with Global Money Rules
Jul 6 (Insurance Journal) - New York State Insurance Department licensees should protect their businesses by ensuring that they comply with federal requirements designed to prevent such practices as money laundering and other illegal international transactions, Insurance Superintendent Eric Dinallo has warned.

Swiss banks drop U.S. clients due to UBS case: report
Jul 4 (Reuters) - Swiss banks including ZKB and Mirabaud are pulling out of business with individuals who pay U.S. taxes, newspaper Neue Zuercher Zeitung (NZZ) reported on Saturday.

U.S. says has far less than 52,000 UBS account names
Jul 6 (Reuters) - U.S. tax authorities have discovered far fewer than the 52,000 accounts with Swiss bank UBS AG (UBSN.VX) suspected of being used by Americans to avoid taxes, the U.S. government said in a court filing on Monday.

Banks consider 'getting rid of all American clients'
Jul 7 (World Radio Switzerland) - The ongoing crackdown by U.S. authorities on tax evasion is striking fear and uncertainty into Americans living abroad—not least the estimated 30,000 U.S. citizens who live in Switzerland.

Sources of Polarization of Income and Wealth: Offshore Financial Centers
May 12 (Review of Radical Political Economics) - Economic data are likely distorted by transfer pricing of activities related to tax havens, including exports and imports, value added, productivity, profit, current account balances, and the nature and size of investment flows across borders. This and other research questions should be near the top of the agenda for radical political economists.

In the line of ire
Jun 25 (FT) - When historians review the great bull market behind the credit crunch that began in 2007, one artefact that may give them pause is the rich list. The tone they have taken in recent years marks a break with the far lengthier tradition of wealth being looked on with envy by the masses.

Gestion de fortune: UBS perd la première place
July 7 (Le Temps) - UBS loses the top spot in wealth management. In French.

Ex-Partner at Tax Firm Is Guilty in Shelter Case
BDO Seligman official was selling tax shelters.

Forthcoming IFC In Jamaica To Be Fully Transparent
July 8 (Tax News) - Jamaican Minister of Finance, Audley Shaw (pictured), in an address to Parliament promised that Jamaica would operate transparently in order to not earn a reputation as a ‘tax haven’, when the proposed International Financial Centre (IFC) is established in downtown Kingston.

U.S. House May Include Surtax on Wealthy in Health-Care Package
July 7 (Bloomberg) -- House Ways and Means Committee members are likely to propose a surtax on high-income Americans to help pay for an overhaul of the health-care system, according to people familiar with the plan.

Rights Group: Equatorial Guinea misused oil money
July 9 (AP) - Human Rights Watch said Thursday that government officials in tiny Equatorial Guinea have used tens of millions of dollars in oil profits to buy lavish homes, cars and vacations while leaving citizens in miserable poverty.

Austrian Parliament Falls Short Of Loosening Bank Secrecy Laws
July 9 (AFP)--Austrian members of parliament failed Wednesday to approve a resolution relaxing the country's strict banking secrecy laws, which came under fire this year.

UBS deal important to U.S. double tax deal-Leuthard
July 8 (Reuters) - The Swiss Parliament may not approve a double taxation treaty between Switzerland and the United States if the legal action against Swiss bank UBS (UBSN.VX) is not resolved, Swiss minister for economic affairs Leuthard said on Wednesday.

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