January2014


Tilting At Windmills

Posted on January 29th, by Global Tax Weekly in Budgets, IMF, Individual Taxation. No Comments

Spain’s Rajoy has promised income tax cuts in 2015, so half a cheer for him for at least talking the talk. But will he walk the walk? Perhaps more credibly, the Finance Minister would only say that he is not planning a VAT rise “for now.” If they weren’t politicians, they wouldn’t even begin to consider lowering taxes at this moment in history: the deficit for 2013 was probably just over 6 percent, while debt was 84 percent of GDP in 2013 and is expected to rise to 94 percent in 2014. While these figures aren’t as catastrophic as those for Greece (and Italy’s debt stands at 135 percent of GDP and rising), they are quite frightening. What they ought to do, of course, is to cut public spending, even though that would increase already massive unemployment (26 percent). But … Read More »


Down With The EU

Posted on January 21st, by Global Tax Weekly in Banking, Trade. 1 Comment

David Cameron and George Osborne have been EU-bashing again this week, and they mean what they say as regards the financial transactions tax and financial services regulation. It’s not clear that they mean what they say as regards immigration: they have to pretend to be against it in order to placate would be supporters of UKIP and other lunatic fringes. In fact, as they know very well, the UK has benefited enormously from successive waves of immigration resulting from illiberal and repressive policies pursued by successive Continental tyrants, from Huguenot weavers in the seventeenth century to Jewish scientists in the 20th. Countless surveys have shown that immigrants add value to the UK, work harder and are less of a drain on the social services than native Brits; but if they want to get re-elected Tory leaders have to pretend otherwise. … Read More »


Bits And Pieces

Posted on January 16th, by Global Tax Weekly in Banking, Currency, E-commerce. No Comments

Singapore has issued some quite sensible guidance on tax aspects of bitcoin transactions, which suggests that there must be a fair amount of bitcoin activity there. The first Asian bitcoin conference was held in Singapore last year, at any rate. Bitcoins join Uzbekhistan on the list of subjects on which I am passing ignorant. I keep trying and failing to understand the phenomenon of bitcoins. Theoretically one should be in favor of a virtual currency with, so to speak, monetary limits (unlike existing national paper currencies, which are being inflated out of sight by central banks who want to keep interest rates low), but I question the usefulness of a currency which by definition can never exist in large quantities. On the other hand, other, similar currencies could exist in large numbers. If there is a bitcoin, why shouldn’t there … Read More »


Prentice Progress

Posted on January 10th, by Global Tax Weekly in Education. No Comments

It’s nice to be able to welcome France’s support for apprenticeship as a means for assisting youngsters into the workforce, even if the Constitutional Court had to stop the Government from doing a bit of gerrymandering by distributing its largesse mostly to friendly regions. The failure of other nations to copy Germany in its devotion to the concept of apprenticeship is nearly inexplicable. Actually, I can see where it’s coming from: if you are a fan of equality, opportunity for all and the rest, then you want to give less bright children and those from poorer backgrounds the opportunity to shine at senior school, and go to University (to get a useless degree in media studies). Unfortunately, the result is to deprive the “old” industries of skilled workers, and to inflate the pool of unemployed and unemployable youth. This effect … Read More »


Cyprus Keeps Punching

Posted on January 6th, by Global Tax Weekly in International Taxation, Offshore, Real Estate. No Comments

Cyprus has put five new double tax agreements into effect, including, importantly, one with the Ukraine, which includes beneficial treatment for real estate owned through a Cyprus holding company. The country’s DTA with Russia used to include such treatment, but the Protocol signed a year ago imposed limits on real estate holding companies, albeit only coming into effect in 2017. Although Cyprus has come in for a great deal of negative publicity since the “bail-in” imposed on bank depositors by the Troika earlier in 2013, it maintains an extremely tax-friendly environment for international holding companies, and double tax treaties are a key element of this regime, along with its 12.5 percent corporation tax rate and favorable rules on dividends and royalties. As a tax-friendly hub for investment into the European Union, Cyprus ranks alongside Ireland and Malta. Although the Government … Read More »


Benvenuto The E-Grannies

Posted on January 2nd, by Global Tax Weekly in Budgets, E-commerce. No Comments

Most countries give some sort of beneficial treatment to investments in technology, particularly start-ups, and this week’s particular case is Italy, which will favor young entrepreneurs for the next few years. I do like the fact that there is positive discrimination in favor of women entrepreneurs of any age, while for men only the young ones are rewarded. Given how many Italian men are living at home with their parents, and not just young ones, I predict a rash of granny start-ups: so when in three years’ time you see a statistic showing that Italy has the most innovative oldsters in the world, you’ll know why. “Cherchez l’impot” is just as true as “Cherchez la femme.” More generally, it’s stretching a point to give Italy a prize this week; the Government is bouncing from one crisis to another, and it … Read More »





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