November2015


Small But Mighty

Posted on November 30th, by Global Tax Weekly in Citizenship, Individual Taxation, Offshore. No Comments

Malta is the smallest economy in the euro zone, yet is has come through the European economic storm in much better shape than many of its more economically powerful fellow member states, and this despite a number of handicaps that might have sunk a country of similar economic stature. For starters, its natural resources are limited, and it imports about 80 percent of its food and most of its energy. Doubtless aware of its economic vulnerabilities, Malta has been very proactive in the area of taxation, introducing various tax incentive schemes to attract foreign investors, including a citizenship for investment program. Indeed, it has sailed pretty close to the wind as far as the EU is concerned, because member states have to be very careful these days not to fall foul of state aid rules and other laws designed to … Read More »


Going Green

Posted on November 23rd, by Global Tax Weekly in Carbon Taxes, Environmental Taxes, Oil and Gas. No Comments

I’m no climate change “denier” (a term I despise incidentally, with all its unpleasant overtones), but I’m not totally convinced that it’s happening either. As I’ve alluded to before in this column, at the same time, I also happen to think that the world would be an infinitely better, healthier place if we stopped burning fossil fuels and switched to cleaner alternatives. I realize that we are undergoing something of a transition towards that end all over the world, and that it’s not going to be completed overnight, or probably within my lifetime, but I would argue that governments are making a bit of dog’s breakfast out it. The United States managed to send men to the moon with less computing power than is available in your smart phone, and that’s because they spent billions of dollars on the Apollo … Read More »


Governing By Committee

Posted on November 16th, by Global Tax Weekly in Government, Sales Tax. No Comments

The Indian Government loves a committee. It seems there’s no problem that can’t be solved by a panel of distinguished former judges, lawyers, academics, and senior bureaucrats, especially in the area of taxation. Except that, have any of them really solved anything? Not that I can see. Committees were a favorite tool of the former Congress administration when a particularly complicated knot in tax law needed unraveling, and given that India’s reputation in the eyes of foreign investors plunged, we could justifiably conclude that they achieved very little. While I admire the direction that the current Government is taking on tax and the economy, it seems to be falling into a similar trap. Since the BJP won office last year, we’ve had committees on the proposed goods and services tax, on India’s conversion to IFRS, and on resolving retrospective tax … Read More »


Carbon Taxes Are A Complicated Business

Posted on November 9th, by Global Tax Weekly in Carbon Taxes. No Comments

Clearly, no single nation is going to tackle climate change alone. Which is why heads of state from around the world met ahead of the Paris climate talks last month to urge countries and companies to put a price on carbon. However, pricing carbon sounds fine in principle, but how do you do it in practice? Different countries have chosen different ways to go about this, from straight taxes on carbon emissions to more complex market-based mechanisms. And nobody really knows yet what the optimum carbon pricing system should look like, including me, because there just isn’t enough data to assess the various schemes. But I’m going to stick my neck out and say that the ideal system won’t look like South Africa’s proposed carbon tax, the draft legislation for which I had the pleasure of reading the other day … Read More »


Singapore’s Open For Business

Posted on November 2nd, by Global Tax Weekly in Business, Corporation Tax. No Comments

Singapore may not be everybody’s cup of tea. Social and cultural attitudes are still quite conservative, it’s often insufferably hot and humid, and, like in many Asian cities, lungs of steel are required when the haze descends. But as a place to do business, it’s second to none. At least according to the latest Doing Business report by the World Bank, which attempts to measure how easy (or not) it is to establish and operate a business in a given country, and which again ranks Singapore first out of the 189 jurisdictions reviewed. The relative ease with which companies in Singapore are able to discharge their tax obligations combined with relatively low tax rates are, of course, a major factor in Singapore’s enduring success in these sorts of polls. But it also goes beyond tax. It’s all well and good … Read More »





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