December2013


Merry Christmas – Not!

Posted on December 26th, by Global Tax Weekly in Corporation Tax, Individual Taxation, Media. No Comments

It’s Christmas week, isn’t it, so obviously lots of governments will be making goodwill gestures to their stressed-out, over-taxed citizens, to show how grateful they are for the tax money that pays for their big, black cars, the trips to G3, G5, G8, G20, G30 junkets in beautiful places with long-legged personal assistants and the rest. Well, let’s see: Mexico is increasing the scope of VAT and has gone back on some promised tax reductions; Max Baucus wants to reduce energy tax incentives (increase taxes, in other words and am I seeing things, or does he have a double who’s going to be the Ambassador to China – that definitely proves that the President has gone off the TPP); community taxes are increasing right across Belgium; and France (that traditional home of Christmas bonhomie) is going to scale back the … Read More »


No Third Arrow

Posted on December 18th, by Global Tax Weekly in Trade. No Comments

As an ardent free-trader, it gives me no pleasure at all to have been right over the extension of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal to include Japan. What I can’t understand is why Japan agreed to put everything on the table, and then just a few months later refuses to negotiate over its agricultural tariffs, including the crazy 777 percent levy on imported rice. Well, I do understand that in apparently changing his mind Shinzo Abe is making a carefully orchestrated domestic gesture, probably because he thinks that the American administration will be unable to get a TPP treaty through Congress without a TPA (Trade Promotion Authority), and there is no point in spending his precious, and limited, political capital and getting nothing in return. In fact, Abe has already gone a long way towards dismantling the agricultural regime that … Read More »


Winter Dreams

Posted on December 12th, by Global Tax Weekly in Banking, Budgets, Individual Taxation, International Taxation, Tax Avoidance. No Comments

The Tory toffs who are running the British Government seem to be doing a reasonable job, despite the LibDem barnacles encrusting their hull and slowing progress. The Chancellor’s Autumn Statement last week had some disappointing aspects, but by and large it does the right things, particularly by helping small businesses in various ways. I don’t know quite what to make of the grandiose package of tax avoidance measures: surely it is mostly grandstanding? Having committed themselves so thoroughly at the Lough Earne G20 summit to abolishing BEPS, they probably had no choice but to make a big song and dance about it. But most thoughtful commentators have by now concluded that the whole BEPS circus will change very little in the real world. So there is no point in criticizing the Brits for continuing to push the bandwaggon along. Even … Read More »


Topsy Turvy

Posted on December 8th, by Global Tax Weekly in Currency. No Comments

I am trying to get my head around the announcement from Argentina that it will increase taxes on luxury goods “in order to make more money available for imports that will improve domestic output.” OK, so the Government will have more money, and the people who buy expensive toys will have less money. How is that going to increase “useful” imports? It must have to do in some obscure way with the fact that the peso (at its official rate) is grossly over-valued against the dollar and inflation is far higher than the Government admits. It won’t work, anyway: Argentines have had decades of practice at getting around official currency restrictions imposed by spendthrift governments, and are famously inventive at it. One good thing the Government did this week, at least, was to open negotiations with Repsol over compensation for … Read More »


Cayman The Grand

Posted on December 3rd, by Global Tax Weekly in Offshore. No Comments

The OECD’s appointment of the Cayman Islands to be vice chair of the Peer Review Group of its Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes comes across as a case of turning the poacher into the gamekeeper, although no doubt the Cayman Islands would be highly affronted by such a comparison. And the anti-offshore brigade will be grinding their teeth at the transmogrification of their precious hate object into respectable police-island. We can merely congratulate the world’s third-biggest accumulation of capital at its cleverness in negotiating the shoals of international financial governance, and wonder at the influence which has accreted to the unelected, rich country quango called the OECD. It’s not the only world body which has mysteriously and almost accidentally acquired power on such a scale (FIFA springs to mind as another example), but it … Read More »


Directionless Directive

Posted on December 1st, by Global Tax Weekly in Individual Taxation, International Taxation, Offshore. No Comments

The EU’s ECOFIN (Finance Ministers of the 28 Member States) had another futile discussion on the Savings Tax Directive last week. Futile not because the target of universal information exchange is unachievable – after recent events, most countries have already accepted it, at least at the level of individual taxation – but because the planned expansion of the Directive to cover companies, trusts and other “personnes morales” is something that the EU will be unable to impose on the third party jurisdictions which were browbeaten into operating the original Directive. And imposition on the third parties is something that would be self-defeating even if it were feasible, because it would only cover those jurisdictions such as Jersey and Guernsey over which EU Member States have some control, and there are plenty of options for wealth-owners in other parts of the … Read More »





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