Recent tax developments in Azerbaijan are suggestive of a country with a modern outlook, keen to encourage local entrepreneurs to grow their businesses and welcome foreign investors with open arms. Taxes are low – corporate tax stands at 20 percent and the top individual tax rate has fallen to 25 percent – and lately tax reforms have focused on making life easier for companies with the introduction of more electronic services, the creation of a tax ombudsman and other measures designed to streamline tax administration. Tax holidays have also been granted to companies engaged in various non-oil related activities like information technology. According to a senior tax official, Azerbaijan is now working to harmonize its VAT regime with that of the EU. Some might see this is a retrograde step given the complexities of EU VAT law. But it is … Read More »
By the time you read this, the farcical saga of Australia’s carbon legislation may have reached the end of its beginning, to use Winston Churchill’s words, but it probably won’t have reached the beginning of its end. The new Senate will have been installed on July 1st, and after no doubt a considerable amount of ritual grandstanding (all legislatures do it) may have gotten to vote on the repeal of the carbon tax installed by the outgoing Labour government. But if it does so, the minority parties will have extracted a high price by forcing the Government to retain its Renewable Energy Target, and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation which has supported renewable energy projects. They are also going to try to compel the Government to enshrine a carbon pricing scheme in law, although the price would be set at … Read More »
There is a tale of two countries Down Under this week, with both New Zealand and Australia launching their annual budgets. Both have right-wing governments, but whereas New Zealand is reaping the harvest of four years of sensible, low-key, pro-business taxation policies, turning in annual surpluses as far as the eye can see, Australia’s equally pro-business government is left with the bitter stubble of seven years of left-wing Labor rule, and is forced into a tax-raising budget to try to repair some of the damage done to the economy by Labor’s spendthrift policies. The Australian Labor Party did occasionally make gestures in the direction of business, but that’s all they were – virtually every substantive measure taken by the last government was either populist or overtly negative for the economy.
One other important difference between the twin countries, one much bigger … Read More »
“Hard-Faced Intermational Mining Behemoth Grinds Down 3rd-World Workers.” Sounds all too probable, yes? “Corrupt Government Reneges On International Mining Contracts.” Sounds even more probable, and there have been lots of cases of that lately. If you don’t pay the Ministers then they’ll chuck you out; and if you do, you’ll end up in Leavenworth. Who’d be a mining executive? Now of course none of the above applies to the saintly mining companies who are helping Indonesia to exploit, sorry, manage, its mineral resources; and of course Indonesian ministers are the cynosure of probity. So how to explain what’s going on with Indonesian mining? Presumably the (non-Indonesian) mining companies employ tens of thousands of local workers, and if they are modern, socially responsible companies, no doubt they have an entirely paternalistic attitude towards those workers (no, I am not being sarcastic, … Read More »