Thursday, July 30, 2009

Links - July 30

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

A pact to get banks to abide by the spirit of tax legislation
July 29 (FT) - The scale and complexity of some projects regularly appals tax authorities. In 2006, the UK Revenue identified a share-dealing scheme that had the potential to wipe out a year’s corporation tax liabilities for the entire banking sector. In 2007 the US identified a significant threat from “foreign tax credit generators” which it viewed as “particularly abusive” because they are designed to generate credits in any amounts the taxpayers desire.

Deal far from done in UBS tax evasion case
Jul 29 (AP) - Attorneys say no settlement is imminent in the U.S. attempt to force Swiss bank UBS AG to disclose names of thousands of suspected tax dodgers.

Illuminating outline
July 29 (FT) - The model of capitalism practised in Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland is seen by some as one of the few winners of the current economic and financial crisis.academics from across the region who wrote a book called The Nordic Model. They argue that an openness to globalisation combined with strong social protection and egalitarianism defines the region’s capitalism.

We've forgotten the force which really drives political change
July 29 (Independent) When you are just one person sitting on a warming planet – when you see economies collapsing, wars raging, and reasons for fear on every corner – how should you react? What can you do? The current cluster of crises has stirred mood-responses that you can hear in every bar and coffee shop.

Conservatives leader dashes hopes of tax cuts
July 29 (Accountancy Age) David Cameron has signaled tax cuts are an unlikely priority under a Tory party government, and said if elected, public spending would be cut and taxes may even rise.The Conservatives leader made the remarks on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show yesterday, according to

UBS Client Case Implicates Swiss Bankers, Official
July 28 (NY Times) An American client of UBS pleaded guilty on Tuesday to using Swiss bank accounts to hide more than $8 million (4.8 million pounds) from U.S. tax authorities and said a Swiss government official received $45,000 to help cover up the fraud.

Tax take from City firms falls by half
July 28 (Guardian) The tax contribution from City firms has plunged by half over the past two years, following multibillion-pound losses suffered by banks in the credit crunch.

U.K. Launches Tax Amnesty for Offshore Accounts
July 28 (WSJ) The U.K. government, struggling to keep up revenue streams as public finances deteriorate, Tuesday offered an amnesty to U.K. citizens with unpaid taxes linked to offshore accounts.

Offshore Disclosure Initiative Launch
July 28 (HM Revenue & Customs) (HMRC) has confirmed the details of a new disclosure initiative that will allow people with unpaid taxes linked to offshore accounts or assets to settle their tax liabilities at a favourable penalty rate.

The 2009 IMF-World Bank Annual Meetings
July 28 (IMF) The 2009 IMF - World Bank Annual Meetings will be held on October 6 and 7, 2009 in Istanbul, Turkey.

US Government Seeks Compromise
July 28 (Tax Analysts) The U.S. government is seeking a compromise with UBS and Swiss authorities in which it would accept a fraction of the names currently sought under a John Doe summons, according to Swiss media.

German Economics Institute Recommends Wealth Tax
July 27 (Tax-News) According to a recent study conducted by the ‘Deutsche Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung’, the largest economics research institute in Germany, increasing tax on wealth could generate as much as EUR25bn annually for the State. The report recommends significantly increasing property tax, and reviving the wealth tax in Germany.

Criticism Grows over Banking Data Deal
July 27 (Spiegel) The EU is about to enter talks with the US on giving it access to banking data in its fight against terrorism. German politicians from across the political spectrum are up in arms, and members of the European Parliament say they will try to scupper any deal that violates data privacy.

Tax Transparency Is Set To Increase
July 24 (Forbes) The emphasis on tax transparency at the April G20 meeting in London has not dissipated; rather, it has strengthened. Governments increasingly seem determined to implement serious change. Agendas have broadened from a strict focus on tax haven secrecy to measures in the area of corporate profit-shifting.

On Tea and Taxes
July 23 (Financial Task Force) One evening in November 1773, colonists disguised as Mohawk Indians threw 342 chests of tea into the Boston Harbor. Later dubbed the Boston Tea Party, the protest was in dissent of what colonists believed to be unfair taxation by the interfering British Empire. This sentiment reverberated throughout the colonies, escalating until the colonists were freed from their oppressors many years later. Little did they know, but there are easier ways to use tea to avoid taxes.

Marijuana Gets a Stamp of Approval
July 22 (NY Times) Perhaps only in the sometimes hazy world of medical marijuana could higher taxes be considered good news. But sure enough, supporters of medical marijuana were pleasantly pleased Wednesday after Oakland voters overwhelmingly approved a huge tax increase — 15 times the former rate — on sales at the city’s handful of permitted medical marijuana dispensaries.

Tory banking regulation tastes stale
July 22 (Guardian) After the announcement of the Conservative party's plans for financial reforms (pdf), the fat cats must be licking their plates of cream. With support from taxpayers, banks have been given protection from bankruptcy – and there is no shortage of bonuses for those at the top either.

ATO lifts lid on tax havens in US
July 22 (The Australian) DETAILS of tax scams by Australian organisations involving US entities have been revealed in a submission sent to US authorities.

Fraud reporting
July 21 (Economist) The rise in financial crime in America. OVER 730,000 counts of suspected financial wrongoing were recorded in America last year, according to recent data from the Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. Institutions such as banks, insurers and casinos are required by law to report suspicious activities to federal authorities under 20 categories.

Stanford case spreads its tentacles
July 21 (FT) The indictment of Sir Allen Stanford on charges ranging from wire fraud to bribery has provided an illuminating glimpse into how cross-border white-collar crimes are investigated and prosecuted, experts say.

Graft Inquiry in Namibia Finds Clues in China
July 21 (NY Times) To the likely consternation of diplomats in both Beijing and faraway Windhoek, a newly minted initiative by Namibia’s government to root out official corruption has snared an early catch: three people who, Namibian prosecutors charge, helped win a lucrative contract for a Chinese company recently headed by the son of Hu Jintao, China’s president.

Tax Returns Filed by the Rich on the Rise
July 21 (Hindu Business Online) More of the rich are now beginning to file income-tax returns. There has been a sharp rise in the number of assessees who filed return of income between Rs 1 crore and Rs 5 crore a year during the last three financial years.

Brooks: Tax Sparing
July 21 (TaxProf Blog) Kim Brooks (McGill) has posted Tax Sparing: A Needed Incentive for Foreign Investment in Low Income Countries or an Unnecessary Revenue Sacrifice, 34 Queen's L.J. ___ (2009), on SSRN. Here is the abtstract:

Pay of Top Earners Erodes Social Security
July 21 (WSJ) The nation's wealth gap is widening amid an uproar about lofty pay packages in the financial world.

IRS Gets Tougher on Offshore Tax Evaders
July 20 (WSJ) The Internal Revenue Service has stepped up scrutiny of offshore accounts and foreign income, an enforcement campaign that could sweep up tens of thousands of taxpayers.The push to recover some of the billions of dollars lost each year to offshore tax evasion goes beyond the government's high-profile effort to force Swiss bank UBS AG to release the names of 52,000 American account holders in order to nab tax evaders.


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