In South Africa it’s only a month since the Government finally enacted legislation giving effect to measures announced in the 2015 Budget, and already the 2016 Budget announcement has come and gone. Often, when trying to track the progress of a particular tax announcement, you might find that that the initial budget legislation has been split into two or more separate bills, some of which might have been put out to consultation, others fast-tracked through the assembly, or shunted into the siding for consideration at some ill-defined later date. The South African law-making progress feels a bit like this sometimes. However, it’s not the finer points of parliamentary procedure in South Africa that bear close examination here, but the 2016 Budget itself. It raises taxes, by about the equivalent of USD3.25bn over the next three years, and doesn’t cut appear … Read More »
Costa Rica, after more than a decade, is still trying to pass a major fiscal reform package designed to put the Government’s finances on a more assured footing. Granted, there are some controversial elements to the original proposals, including a switch from a territorial to a worldwide basis of taxation, and investors won’t like that. And overall, the package is meant to increase tax revenue as a share of the economy. But for taxpayers, and particularly for foreign investors, policy paralysis is just as bad as a situation where the rules are apt to change frequently, because it also breeds uncertainty and a lack of confidence in the government and the legislature. Perhaps indicative of this displeasure, the lack of a political consensus on the fiscal reforms earned Costa Rica a rebuke from Moody’s Investors Service earlier this month.
For more … Read More »
As the famous expression, usually attributed to Benjamin Franklin, goes, “in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” But what about tax after death? It’s probably safe to assume that in Franklin’s world, death was a blessed relief from tax. However, as it turns out, sometimes the two are not mutually exclusive, at least in the eyes of some tax authorities. In Canada for example, death is no excuse for not filing your tax return, according to the Canada Revenue Agency. Not that you are expected to submit a return from beyond the grave. That would just be silly. No, under Canadian rules this unfortunate task falls to the legal representative of the deceased, as it no doubt does in most jurisdictions.
I suppose by the strict letter of the law, if you shuffle … Read More »
It would be somewhat remiss not to mention the latest battery of anti-corporate tax avoidance proposals from the European Commission, especially as they represent probably the most serious attempt by Brussels so far to harmonize corporate tax in the EU. Indeed, even the most europhile member states in the heart of “old Europe” (France, Germany, Benelux et al) must have been taken by surprise by the ferocity of the Commission’s recent attacks on member states’ tax regimes. But, rather than do the predictable thing of chastening Brussels for its latest power grab over the tax sovereignty of European nations, it is possible look at this from a different angle. If there’s one good thing to come out of the EU’s aggressive stance on tax avoidance, it’s that minds are beginning to focus on tax reform on the other side of … Read More »
Belgium has had a bit of a bad rap recently, having been very publicly rebuked by the European Commission for allowing some multinationals to pay not very much tax; it could do with a bit of a pick-me-up. So Belgium, congratulations on finally coming to your senses and recognizing the flaws in the insane EU financial transactions tax proposal.
When you think about it, the very reason why we’re having the debate about corporate tax avoidance is because of the bankers. When everything was going swimmingly, in the Halcyon days before the financial crisis, fewer people seemed to care how much tax big companies were paying, or, to be more accurate, the media wasn’t that interested in the subject so people didn’t read or hear about it as much. Now, it sticks in the throats of many that ordinary taxpayers are … Read More »