Belgium has had a bit of a bad rap recently, having been very publicly rebuked by the European Commission for allowing some multinationals to pay not very much tax; it could do with a bit of a pick-me-up. So Belgium, congratulations on finally coming to your senses and recognizing the flaws in the insane EU financial transactions tax proposal.
When you think about it, the very reason why we’re having the debate about corporate tax avoidance is because of the bankers. When everything was going swimmingly, in the Halcyon days before the financial crisis, fewer people seemed to care how much tax big companies were paying, or, to be more accurate, the media wasn’t that interested in the subject so people didn’t read or hear about it as much. Now, it sticks in the throats of many that ordinary taxpayers are … Read More »
If there was an award for the silliest tax initiative dreamt up by the unelected Eurocrats in Brussels over the course of the last couple of decades, the savings tax directive and the CCCTB (that’s the common consolidated corporate tax base, for the uninitiated) would be up there competing for the top prize. But surely the proposed financial transactions tax would win hands down. It’s not that I feel sorry for the banks targeted by this tax. On the contrary; it is because of them that this idea has come about in the first place. I suppose you could say that even without the financial crisis, the Šemetas and Moscovicis of this world (Francois Hollande’s former finance minister has now taken over from Šemeta as Tax Commissioner) would be pushing for a so-called Tobin tax, or Robin Hood tax, whatever … Read More »
One does have a modicum of sympathy for Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, albeit a tiny one. Regularly lambasted by Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) – led by Labour MP Margaret Hodge, who has emerged as Britain’s answer to Senator Carl Levin in America – and the mainstream media for being soft on corporate tax avoidance and cosying up to large multinationals in a series of so-called “sweetheart” tax rulings, HMRC is also castigated by the same set of critics for an increasingly heavy-handed approach in its numerous tax compliance campaigns. Damned if you do and damned if you don’t, you could say. On the first point, the criticism of the department has been a tad harsh. HMRC can only uphold the laws which are set by parliament in the first place, and a study of five sweetheart deals by … Read More »
So the European Court of Justice, supposedly the guardian of the sacred freedoms of the European Union, has chickened out of one of most important issues currently confronting the EU, at exactly the moment when it should have taken centre stage and erected or reaffirmed some principles for the Union to follow.
In recusing itself from any involvement in the structural legislative processes of the Union over the question of the Financial Transactions Tax, the Court has diminished itself and the Union, sending a message that administrative convenience is a more important principle than judicial rectitude. It will be many a long day before it recovers from this piece of egregious cowardice, if it ever does.
There are multiple theories to explain the court’s behaviour (I hereby deprive it of its capital letter – it no longer deserves it), but the most … Read More »