Monday, July 06, 2009

Links - July 6

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

Sarkozy, Brown Push Against Tax Havens
July 6 (AP) -- The leaders of France and Britain pushed Monday for ambitious targets for tackling climate change and cracking down on uncooperative tax havens, ahead of upcoming meetings with other heads of state this week and in September.

DfID on tax: what they said
July 6th (Tax Research) - The UK’s Department for International Development published its new White Paper on development today. On tax it said:

Video of TJN Friends in Action
(Daily Motion) Video of TJN friends such as Matti Kohonen

Commission Calls For Harmonized EU VAT Grouping Rules
July 6 (Tax-News) The European Commission has adopted proposals which attempt to harmonize Community rules relating to value-added tax (VAT) grouping schemes and crack down further on tax evasion.

UK wants banks to sign tax avoidance code-source
July 6 (LSE) Britain will put pressure on banks on Monday to promise to stop avoiding tax or face greater oversight of their affairs, a source familiar with a new consultation process told Reuters on Friday.

Last Will of Michael Joseph Jackson
July 1 (The Smoking Gun) A will signed in 2002 by Michael Jackson stipulates that his assets be placed in a family trust and that his mother be appointed the guardian of his three offspring.

Imelda Marcos Sure She'll Beat Corruption Charges
July 3 (NY Times) She glided down a red carpet with a bouquet of roses, trailed by tuxedo-wearing violin and flute players who rendered her favorite love song. She blew out the candles on her 80th birthday cake amid glittering confetti and fireworks.

Coffers Empty, California Pays With I.O.U.’s
July 2 (NY Times) LOS ANGELES — An ever-widening budget gap joined with intractable political paralysis to deliver California its biggest fiscal blow in decades on Thursday, when the state’s controller began printing i.o.u.’s in lieu of cash to pay taxpayers, vendors and local governments.

Will Tax Breaks Boost Jobs?
July 1 (Business Week) With the economy slumping and unemployment approaching 10%, states are kicking corporate tax incentives into overdrive. In the past year they've doled out a record $50 billion to spur job growth.

Florida Man, a UBS Client, Pleads Guilty to Tax Fraud
June 25 (NY Times) A wealthy American client of UBS pleaded guilty on Thursday to tax fraud, the latest victory for the federal government in its crackdown on UBS and its offshore private banking accounts.

African Tax Administration Forum Ends in Accra
June 21 (Ghana Business News) Mr. Oupa Magashula, Acting Commissioner of the South African Revenue Service, on Friday asked African Tax administrators to forge a united front, in order to strengthen tax mobilisation to ensure minimal loss of revenue to the continent.

McIntyre on combined reporting
July 6 (TJN) - As we recently noted, TJN is just launching a project on Transfer Pricing - one of the great (largely unprobed) issues of our age - and we are inviting other organisations to join us in our research. We have promised to issue a series of materials on this subject, and in this spirit this blog contains an impressive piece of work on the subject by law professor Michael J. McIntyre.

Absence of data implies a need for more transparency
July 7 (FT) - In the FT today: "From Mr John Christensen and others.
Sir, As organisations working on the issue of illicit capital flows out of developing countries, and including authors of many of the papers reviewed by the Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation (“Treasury in drive to extend global tax clamp”, June 22), we write to express our disquiet about the centre’s conclusions.

TJN event in London Westminster, July 14th
July 7 (TJN) - TJN's John Christensen will be speaking at an event in London entitled “Our Taxes, our Lives” on the evening of July 14th, hosted by British Member of Parliament John McDonnell.

We are not a tax haven - they are
Jul 6 (TJN) - A curious characteristic of tax havens (or secrecy jurisdictions as we usually like to call them) - they do like to deny being tax havens. How about the territories repeatedly fingered as secrecy jurisdictions come up with their own definition of what a secrecy jurisdiction is – and why they are not one.

The non-perils of information exchange
Jul 6 (TJN) – A selection of issues that came up in response to the “leakage” argument for non-exchange of information.

Tracking banks' secrets
Jul 2 (TJN) - A group of organisations has put together a new website that examines links between banks and blacklisted companies supporting dictators, causing irreversible environmental damage or producing indiscriminate weaponry, such as cluster munitions, The thirteen researched banks together invest 39.6 billion euros in 14 such companies and projects.

Journalist under threat
Jul 2 (TJN) - TJN and some of our partners in France have just issued a statement expressing great concern about a Cameroonian journalist, Jean Bosco Talla, who is being harrassed and intimidated as a result of his work in publicising a huge and detailed report outlining the scale of dictators' and élites' assets in a wide number of countries around the world, including in Cameroon.

Short cuts in Jersey
Jul 2 (TJN) - From the latest edition of the London Review of Books, an article that begins:" There was an awfully genteel protest organised by the Tax Justice Network in Jersey earlier this year." The article isn't that long, and it's very nicely written - go and read it!

In Search of Pro-Poor Taxation in Bangladesh
Jul 2 (TJN) - Tax Justice Network in partnership with Action Aid Bangladesh organised a workshop in Dhaka on the 23rd June titled “Understanding Tax Dynamics: Issues and Perspectives”. Going to Bangladesh gave TJN the opportunity to familiarise with tax issues in Bangladesh, and approach the issue of tax justice form the perspective of one of the most unequal countries on earth.

Tour de France (et des paradis fiscaux)
Jul 2 (TJN) - Coming shortly after last April's G-20 Summit, which called for an end to secrecy jurisdictions, the 2009 Tour de France gets under way in Monaco tomorrow, passing via Andorra before heading on to Switzerland. Given this opportunity just a few days before the G-8 meeting in Italy, a group of organisations will be carrying out a series of symbolic actions to remind the public that the problem of secrecy jurisdictions remains largely unresolved.

Capitalism's dirty secret
Jul 2 (TJN) - Just why is there so much debt in the Anglo-Saxon world? writes Ben Funnell, an asset manager. "The answer is capitalism’s dirty little secret: excessive lending was the only way to maintain the living standards of the vast bulk of the population at a time when wealth was being concentrated in the hands of an elite."

The bomb-thrower's crystal ball
Jul 2 (TJN) - The bomb-throwing Dutch FT columnist Willem Buiter accurately predicted the 2008 financial crisis in 2000. With that in mind, be reminded of another of his headlines: Blockade the Tax Havens.


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