Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Links Mar 16

Taxing the bankers' £7bn bonuses
It's clear banks could afford to pay more in tax. Here is a slider, that while fun to use, shows starkly where the money could be used to help people in need and to tackle climate change.

Should the European Commission target cross-border tax avoidance transactions instead of a CCCTB? Progressive Tax Blog

Mar 15 -
A dicussion of European tax harmonisation and a demonstration of tax avoidance techniques through hybrid instruments and entities. The blog takes an either-or approach to CCCTb vs. addressing hybrids, though it isn't necessarily an either-or problem.

Reinstate the power of tax lapressaffaires (In French)
Mar 15 - Reporting on a recent essay by Brigitte Alepin: La crise fiscale qui vient (The impending fiscal crisis). The essayist observes how the state, in advanced economies, loses power that is derived through taxation - thus leaving the entire burden of responsibility on the shoulders of taxpayers, with the notable exception of the very rich who manage to escape the influence of the treasury. Hat tip Mathilde Dupré.

Cayman retains global 2nd place in captive insurance rankings Cayman News Service
Mar 14 - At the end of 2010 the Cayman Islands was home to 738 of the world’s 5,627 insurance captives, according to the industry magazine, Business Insurance. In its captive insurance report, the publication ranked Cayman second behind Bermuda, where 845 captives were domiciled at the end of 2010. Behind the Cayman Islands is the American state of Vermont, Guernsey, and Anguilla.

UBS says faces Libor manipulation probe Reuters
Mar 15 - This is massive. Libor (London Interbank Offered Rate) is the interest rate, set daily, that is the benchmark for lending and borrowing around the globe. Libor is a hugely important barometer of financial market interest rates and the health of the financial system. UBS, indicted for assisting US persons to evade taxes and exposed for laundering proceeds of kleptocracy (see reports by Global Witness). This is about manipulating markets and rent extraction. Just as Adair Turner explained recently. Turner's answer: tax banks more.

Federation of Small Business demand action on Channel Islands VAT abuse - Music Week
March 15 - The Federation of Small Businesses has written to the European Commission, lending its support to the campaign to bring an end to Low Value Consignment Relief, an abusive tax mechanism that enables large music retailers to out-compete indie music retailers on factors that have nothing to do with producing better or cheaper services. h/t Tax Research.

Ireland is a hostile country: it might bite you on the arse Treasure Islands

Mar 16 - Nick Shaxson on a lost Celtic tiger, and how Ireland isn't hostile per se, but many things that happen in Ireland’s financial centre constitute hostile acts towards the taxpayers of other countries.

Enron Whistleblower Scores $1.1M Reward from U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Accounting Today

Mar 15 - The IRS has paid a $1.1 million reward to an anonymous whistleblower for information that exposed an alleged tax fraud scheme by Enron, Bankers Trust and others before the company collapsed. The tax fraud allowed Enron to evade taxes on more than $600 million of taxable income, resulting in more than $200 million of federal tax savings and the bogus reporting of over $300 million of financial accounting income.

The European Union Savings Tax Directive Amendments - a practical guideline - Mark Morris
Explaining the main loopholes in the European Union's pioneering information exchange mechanism, and how they are being patched up. Hat tip - and the full report available - from Tax Research.

We won't trouble Saudi's tyrants with calls to reform while we crave their oil
The Guardian
Mar 15 - George Monbiot comments on the expression of political will. In this article he observes: "The last government was so determined to preserve its special relationship with the Saudi despots that it derailed British justice by forcing the Serious Fraud Office to drop its inquiry into corruption in the al-Yamamah deals " and he links to the Guardian article Secrets of al-Yamamah that describes the use of secrecy jurisdictions to disguise money flows related to the alleged corruption.

U.S. Internal Revenue Service Data Book 2010 IRS
This report describes activities conducted by the Internal Revenue Service during Fiscal Year 2010 (October 1, 2009, through September 30, 2010). It provides information on returns filed and taxes collected, enforcement, taxpayer assistance, the IRS budget and workforce, and other selected activities.


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