March2015


Sprinkling Some Fairy Dust

Posted on March 23rd, by Global Tax Weekly in Banking, Budgets, Individual Taxation. No Comments

It’s difficult to know what to make of George Osborne’s sixth budget as the United Kingdom’s Chancellor of the Exchequer (that’s finance minister to the rest of the world). In the days leading up to the last budget of the current Parliament, Osborne promised that headline-grabbing gimmicks would be absent from his speech. But with the general election less than two months away, he would have been almost foolish not to have sprinkled the Budget with at least some fairy dust in the form of tax cuts for low- and middle-income workers and pensioners – winning over the substantial “gray vote” is one way to ensure electoral success. And sprinkle he did. The taxation of savings will be more or less abolished for ordinary savers, while another increase in the personal income tax allowance will ensure that most low-paid workers … Read More »


A Recipe For Legislative Paralysis

Posted on March 16th, by Global Tax Weekly in Democracy, Environmental Taxes. No Comments

In an age of increasing voter apathy, of general disenchantment with mealy-mouthed style-over-substance politicians desperately trying to stay on-message, it was refreshing to see another example of Switzerland’s “direct democracy” in action when a proposal to replace VAT with an environmental levy was rejected by the people. But can the people be given too much say on issues ranging from the mundane to the fundamental? I suppose it could be argued that democracy Swiss-style is potentially a hindrance to the political process. With Swiss voters able to demand a say at every level, from the federal right down to the communes, of which there are almost 3,000, it sounds like a recipe for legislative paralysis, a system in which proposed laws are endlessly debated and amended and never approved – isn’t this what we elect politicians for in the first … Read More »


Is There Such A Thing As Banking Secrecy Anymore?

Posted on March 9th, by Global Tax Weekly in OECD, Tax Avoidance. No Comments

It’s certainly debatable. In Switzerland, still the epicenter of the private banking world, confidentiality laws remain on the statute books. But this fundamental pillar of the Swiss legal system is undoubtedly being weakened as Berne acquiesces to the transparency demands of foreign nations and plurilateral organizations, the latest of which was the joint declaration by Switzerland and Australia on the implementation of automatic information exchange in tax matters. Not that Switzerland can really be condemned for giving ground. It has been surrounded by the massed ranks of the world’s tax inspectors for a number of years, and generally it hasn’t given in without putting up a good fight. These days the phrase “banking secrecy” is used in a pejorative way, alongside other uncomplimentary descriptors of wealth management and offshore finance, like “tax haven,”, and many people would probably denounce me … Read More »


Burning The Midnight Oil In Many A Corporate Tax Department

Posted on March 2nd, by Global Tax Weekly in Budgets, Corporation Tax. No Comments

It was no surprise when South Africa’s Minister of Finance, Nhlanhla Nene, announced an increase in personal income tax in the 2015 Budget. But it could have been a lot worse. Many observers had predicted that the Government would increase value-added tax, or even corporate tax, to address a budget deficit that is threatening to become structural. Doubtless the devil will be in the detail. And the phrase “the Government is to take further steps to combat revenue leakages through erosion of the tax base, profit shifting, and illicit money flows” shows that beneath the more eye-catching measures to help small businesses, a series of complex revenue raisers lurk that will keep the midnight oil burning in many a corporate tax department. There’s no getting away from the fact, though, that the Government needs revenue and the Budget therefore raises … Read More »





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