What have the Romans ever done for us?

Posted on April 27th, by Global Tax Weekly in Government. No Comments

“What have the Romans ever done for us,” Reg, played by John Cleese, asks his fellow anti-Roman insurgents in a memorable and amusing scene from the movie The Life of Brian “apart from better sanitation and medicine and education and irrigation and public health and roads and a freshwater system and baths and public order?” You could ask a similar question when looking at your paycheck or tax return and discovering how much you are paying in tax, i.e. “what has the Government ever done for us?” The answer to that will vary greatly depending on where you live. If you live in Europe, the Government probably does quite a lot for you, regardless of whether you want it to or not. The Scandinavian countries stand out as providing the most comprehensive “cradle to grave” welfare states. But Austria must … Read More »

Ranked 39th

Posted on April 20th, by Global Tax Weekly in Corporation Tax. No Comments

When measured against its competitors, the Australian tax system isn’t actually that bad. PwC ranks Australia 39th out of 189 countries in terms of how easy it is for a medium-sized company to discharge its tax obligations, which isn’t a brilliant score, but it’s by no means the worst. Yet the Government is determined to make improvements. It can’t help that the Tax White Paper, the pithily titled “Re:think,” has come so soon after the last government’s failed attempt at comprehensive tax reform. Indeed, the Labor administration’s “Future Tax” review was just one of a long line of tax system assessments that must be putting taxpayers in Australia, especially corporate investors with long planning horizons, on a near-constant state of alert about the risks of legislative change. The Government must also be mindful of promising, or appearing to promise, things … Read More »

Does Italy Really Need Another New Tax?

Posted on April 13th, by Global Tax Weekly in Individual Taxation. No Comments

Seemingly, yes it does. Well, the economy doesn’t, but the Government surely does. National Statistical Office figures show that Italy’s tax-to-GDP ratio exceeded 50 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014, yet the budget deficit nudged back up to three percent of the economy last year. The Government could of course make a greater effort to cut expenditure, but that’s not as easy as raising taxes, or creating new ones. But where do you go next as a government when you’ve taxed virtually everything in sight already? According to Paolo Grimoldi, a Northern League member of the Chamber of Deputies, you turn the clock back to medieval times and slap a copyright tax on heraldic designs. I had to check it wasn’t April 1 when I first read this story. But, alas, it came too late for that, and Grimoldi … Read More »

A “Fair” Share

If overbearing tax and regulation are still somewhat alien to the American way of life, the same cannot be said for the European Union, where companies and individuals must by now be well used to governments taking what they think is a “fair” share of their income (i.e. over half of it in many instances), and generally interfering in the lives of taxpayers. And so it goes on. The European Commission’s latest wheeze is its corporate tax plan, which it claims would be “a revolutionary step” towards international tax transparency and the fight against base erosion and profit shifting. The gruesome details of the Action Plan won’t be published until summer, but we’ve been warned to expect the controversial plans for a common consolidated corporate tax base to rear their ugly head again. Essentially though, the corporate tax plan is … Read More »


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The scheme...