November2013


A Turkey For Thanksgiving

Posted on November 28th, by Global Tax Weekly in International Taxation. No Comments

At Thanksgiving, plaudits for US Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D – Montana) who has released a discussion draft setting out options for international tax reform, although he received only grudging praise from his “partner” on the tax reform trail, Dave Camp, (R – Michigan) Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. To many commentators it seemed unhelpful that Baucus has released his ideas while the parties are struggling towards an agreement over the budget, plus another fiscal cliff is looming. It’s not Baucus’s fault however that his draft saw the light of day at the very moment that Democrats in the Senate used the “nuclear option” of denying Republicans the use of the filibuster to contest the President’s legal appointments; but if anything was needed to harden Republican attitudes, surely that will have done the trick. Even … Read More »


Don’t Kill Off Doha

Posted on November 25th, by Global Tax Weekly in Trade. 1 Comment

It’s doom and gloom all around in regard to the Doha Round and even as regards the World Trade Organization itself. But these fears seem overblown. Even if the upcoming WTO summit in Bali in 10 days’ time does fail to reach an encompassing deal, something will be saved from the rubble, and nothing prevents the Round from continuing other than the exhaustion of the participants. All existing agreements remain in place; and the WTO’s dispute resolution procedures will continue to operate. And by the way, non-WTO trade deals quite often specify that disputes should be dealt with through the WTO. There isn’t and can’t be any substitute for the WTO. Indeed I’d like to see its quasi-judicial remit extended beyond trade to other fields, say tax treaties and transfer pricing. The OECD is good at constructing sets of rules, … Read More »


EU Membership For Spangaltar!

Posted on November 22nd, by Global Tax Weekly in Offshore. No Comments

I’m going to give an award to the European Union for its refusal to rise to Spain’s allegations against Gibraltar’s low tax regime, alongside the measured acceptance by an EU delegation of new Spanish border controls, which everyone realizes are a tit-for-tat response to Gibraltar’s dumping of concrete blocks into its harbour, for some obscure purpose which may possibly have something to do with fishing. The EU is the only party to this imbroglio that has shown a modicum of grown-up common sense. Gibraltar, encouraged by the UK, and Spain, seem incapable of rational behaviour on the subject of Gibraltar’s sovereignty. What meaning can be attached to the idea of European unity when this 400-year-old squabble is allowed to smoulder on by two of the EU’s largest member states? Spain’s tax complaint was curious, given that Gibraltar’s tax regime has … Read More »


Jam Tomorrow

Posted on November 12th, by Global Tax Weekly in Corporation Tax. No Comments

Jam tomorrow for the Portuguese, facing another year of austerity under the country’s 2014 budget, but at least corporation tax is being cut, if only by two percent, to 23 percent. It’s billed as a step on the way towards a target rate of 19 percent by 2018; but the situation is worse than that for bigger companies, which pay up to five percent more in surtax, plus a local supplement of up to 1.5 percent, making a total of 29.5 percent, which suddenly doesn’t sound so attractive. The Spanish headline rate is stuck at 30 percent, so maybe there’s an element of local competition in Portuguese thinking. Portugal is still under an EU bailout program worth EUR68bn, but does seem to be struggling free of the worst of its crisis, with a return to growth in the second half … Read More »


Trading Games

Posted on November 8th, by Global Tax Weekly in Trade. No Comments

Despite occasional mis-steps, such as over solar panels, and the little “misunderstanding” between the US and Europe over phone bugging, you’ve got to hand it to the EU on the free trade front. A Commission Vice-President weighed in this week in support of the TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership), and talks continued both on an investment agreement with China, and a free trade agreement with Japan. Full marks for trying, but one has to be sceptical about the chances for all three of these deals to come to fruition. Of the three, perhaps the most likely to work out is the China investment deal: it’s a fact that current levels of investment between the two parties are extremely feeble, although the figures given by the Commission may underestimate triangular flows, for instance through Hong Kong into China and via … Read More »





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