Thursday, September 22, 2011

Links Sep 22

European Parliament backs Publish What You Pay rules; sends strong signal to the European Commission Publish What You Pay
Sep 13 -Publish What You Pay issued a press release welcoming the European Parliament’s endorsement on Tuesday of plans for EU laws that will require oil, gas and mining companies to be more transparent about their tax payments to governments around the world.

See also:
Global Witness welcomes landmark U.S. effort to curb corruption and promote transparency Global Witness

Sep 20 - "The United States’ dual pledge to implement the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and to support legislation that would stop U.S. states from allowing secretive front companies to be set up represents an important step forward in the global fight against corruption and corporate secrecy."

See also:
Pure hypocrisy from the UK by refusing to join the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative Tax Research UK

Sep 22 - On debunking the UK government's rationale as to why it refuses to commit to the EITI.

Introduction of transfer pricing rules in Uganda to boost tax man Business Daily
Sep 21 - Reporting on the budget speech by Uganda's Finance Minister Maria Kiwanuka: "One major highlight ... was the emphasis by the minister that issues to do with ‘transfer pricing’ demand urgent action and thereby introduced the transfer pricing regulations 2011." Hat tip Sandra Kidwingira.

11 million Swiss Francs placed with HSBC Geneva by a relative of the Ben Ali clan Tribune de Genève (In French)
Sep 19 - Despite anti-money laundering legislation, the brother-in-law of Ben Ali, the deposed president of Tunisia, holds 11 million Swiss francs in an account with HSBC Private Bank in Geneva. (Curiously, the HSBC Private Bank website states: "Our motto is 'We connect your wealth to the world'.")

Swiss banks: masters of ‘compliance’ Treasure Islands
Sep 21 - Er, not exactly. Rather, masters of attempted spin. Nick Shaxson brings us a shining example. While some Swiss banks are claiming reticence in allowing German customers to withdraw cash before the Swiss-German tax bilateral tax deal is fully in place, they are, nonetheless, allowing wire transfers.

Credit Suisse settles tax dispute with Germany swissinfo
Sep 19 - "Credit Suisse has agreed to pay €150 million (SFr180.8 million) to settle tax evasion proceedings against its employees in Germany ... In April, Zurich-based private bank Julius Bär reached a similar deal with German authorities, agreeing to a settlement of €50 million in order to avoid protracted legal proceedings over tax evasion cases." All providing hidden identity and impunity for the tax evaders.

And see:
Swiss parliament may block U.S. tax deal: report Reuters

Sep 19 - "Political opponents could block a compromise between Switzerland and U.S. tax authorities that would settle a dispute on untaxed money in Swiss accounts ... confidential documents showed a one-off payment would allow Swiss banks to get rid of claims, concerning past wrongdoing, in the United States."

Automatic information exchange or bankers' pet scheme: Europe remains undecided Eurodad
Sep 15 - A good summary of the status within Europe on the Swiss "Rubik" bilateral tax deals, currently in motion with UK and with Germany that we have blogged on extensively - includes information on the European Commission analyzing whether the final withholding tax deals are compatible with EU law.

India: Amnesty scheme on cards for black money The Times of India
Sep 21 - The Indian finance ministry is devising a voluntary tax disclosure scheme that will allow corporates and others who have maintained secret accounts in foreign countries to declare their unaccounted wealth and bring it back into the economy after paying a "levy".

UK: HMRC admits corporate tax deal errors Guardian
Sep 21 - "Britain's most senior taxman has admitted making 'governance errors' when agreeing multibillion-pound settlements with large companies. Dave Hartnett, HMRC's head of tax, has conceded that Revenue officials did not follow correct procedures in two high-profile cases that could have left taxpayers millions of pounds out of pocket." See our recent blog on this scandal here.

HMRC announces crackdown on tax-avoiding footballers Guardian
Sep 20 - Britain's tax authority has launched a clampdown on tax evasion in football (soccer) to ensure players are not dodging payments during the country's economic turmoil.

Ireland asks EU to amend treaties Financial Times
Sep 15 - "The Irish government has asked the European Union to amend its treaties in order to provide specific legal assurances that the country can continue to control its own corporate tax rate. The request, which comes against a backdrop of growing calls for greater fiscal union in the EU, reflects Ireland’s concern that it could be forced to raise its ultra-low 12.5 per cent corporate tax rate."

Obama’s Plan a Massive Tax CUT Despite GOP Claims of “Largest Tax Hike in Modern History”
Citizens for Tax Justice
Sep 20 - See CTJ's Statement on President Obama's Jobs and Deficit Plan.

Tax Cuts Don't Create Jobs: 3 New Fact Sheets on State Economic Development Citizens for Tax Justice
Sep 16 - The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) offers a series of Policy Briefs designed to provide a quick introduction to basic tax policy ideas that are important to understanding current debates at the state and federal level - see three new briefs that focus specifically on taxes and economic development.

This is what Apple Itunes Europe looks like Treasure Islands

Sep 17 - Courtesy of the French site OWNI (hat tip Mathieu), we are invited to view just how the "mighty European domicile for this major part of what was briefly the world’s biggest company" is in Luxembourg - although a passer-by would hardly, if at all, notice.


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