Citizenship


Small But Mighty

Posted on November 30th, by Global Tax Weekly in Citizenship, Individual Taxation, Offshore. No Comments

Malta is the smallest economy in the euro zone, yet is has come through the European economic storm in much better shape than many of its more economically powerful fellow member states, and this despite a number of handicaps that might have sunk a country of similar economic stature. For starters, its natural resources are limited, and it imports about 80 percent of its food and most of its energy. Doubtless aware of its economic vulnerabilities, Malta has been very proactive in the area of taxation, introducing various tax incentive schemes to attract foreign investors, including a citizenship for investment program. Indeed, it has sailed pretty close to the wind as far as the EU is concerned, because member states have to be very careful these days not to fall foul of state aid rules and other laws designed to … Read More »


The American Dream

Posted on February 16th, by Global Tax Weekly in Citizenship, Expatriates. No Comments

A record 3,415 people handed in their US passports last year. That’s an average of just fewer than 10 renunciations per day. Which, in a country with a population of almost 320m people, is a miniscule amount. I put the latest expatriation statistics into context like this because they tend get a lot of attention, and undeniably the numbers have been rising every year for the last few years. Some anti-government commentators are quick to seize on these figures as evidence of increasing dissatisfaction with the Obama Administration and its heavy-handed tax measures like FATCA. That may well be the case, and I’m certainly no fan of FATCA, nor of President Obama’s policies on tax in general. But it’s hard to say what the real reasons are for expatriation without asking the people who handed in their passports themselves. There … Read More »


Stuttering SAR

Posted on November 16th, by Global Tax Weekly in Budgets, Citizenship, Currency, Offshore. No Comments

Although Hong Kong’s liberal economic system is regularly praised here, this Special Administrative Region of China, as it is officially known, has not been shown in the best of lights on the world’s television screens over recent weeks as the authorities, both in the SAR and in Beijing, struggle to square China’s One Party mode of government with the democratic demands of Hong Kong’s citizens. Another worrying, but little-reported development came in the form of figures from the Inland Revenue Department last week, which showed tax revenue growth slowing to a virtual standstill thanks to lacklustre economic growth in 2013/14. So, Hong Kong could do with a timely boost, and perhaps it has just got two: the launch of the Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect scheme, which will allow eligible Mainland investors to trade stocks listed on the Stock Exchange of … Read More »


Disunited Kingdom

Posted on October 12th, by Global Tax Weekly in Citizenship, Individual Taxation, Parliament. No Comments

Given the sorry state of the eurozone’s economy at the moment, the turn-around in fortunes for the United Kingdom’s economy looks remarkable, especially as the former is one of the latter’s main export markets. Prime Minister David Cameron also made the right noises on tax at the recent Conservative Party conference, calling for a substantial and long overdue increase in the threshold at which the 40 percent rate of income tax kicks in. It used to be that you had to be earning significant amounts of money before the Government took almost half of your pay. Now somebody earning not much more than 40,000 pounds is considered rich, and the UK isn’t the only offender in having intermediate and top rates of income tax applying at criminally low levels of pay. Anyway, this is something of a digression, because it’s … Read More »


Country Capers

Posted on August 31st, by Global Tax Weekly in Citizenship, Offshore. No Comments

A bit of a theme this week: how the powerful like to bully the small and the weak. And we start with Spain, which, according to one senior figure in the Spanish Government, is deprived of EUR1bn every year in tax revenue as a result of Gibraltar’s low-tax regime. Gibraltar isn’t exactly a country. In fact its constitutional status confuses many people. Gibraltar is an Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom, but although Britain is responsible for its defense, foreign affairs and internal security, the Rock is self-governing based on a constitution written in the 1960s. It also has a sort of half-in, half-out relationship with the EU which it entered along with the UK while remaining outside of the common external tariff and EU VAT regimes, something which also probably irritates Spain. Essentially though, Gibraltar is a little piece … Read More »


Collateral Damage

Posted on July 25th, by Global Tax Weekly in Banking, Citizenship, Individual Taxation, International Taxation. No Comments

Something has gone very wrong somewhere when an American passport, historically that most prized of possessions, is considered a curse rather than a blessing. But the statistics don’t lie: the Treasury Department’s own figures show just over 1,000 people handed back their passports or their green cards in the first quarter of 2014, an increase of almost 50 percent compared with Q1 2013. And this is no freak either, because these numbers have been steadily rising for the past two or three years. What these raw figures don’t tell us is why people are turning their backs on America in increasing numbers, and there could be any number of reasons, political or practical. However, let’s face it, most of us are thinking it: tax is the reason. But more specifically FATCA, which went into full force (almost) on July 1. … Read More »


Citizens For Sale

Posted on May 8th, by Global Tax Weekly in Citizenship. No Comments

One thing the USA is probably not going to do, unlike many other countries world-wide, and even next-door companion-in-arms, Canada, is to sell citizenship. It is a popular sport nowadays, although many people find something unseemly in the spectacle of white-gloved butlers ushering the rich into a national club by the front door while the great unwashed try to scale the walls at the back of the house, to be beaten back very often, sometime physically, or even shot. These people will not like the fact that the UK is dining out on tax receipts from so-called “non-doms,” while deporting refugees and denying social benefits to legitimate immigrants from recent EU entrant countries. In fact there are dozens of countries with active programs to encourage incoming rich individuals: a recent report claims that the average incoming “citizenship” investor has net … Read More »





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