Global competitive rankings, like the latest Doing Business Index from the World Bank, often throw up some surprising results. New Zealand usually performs well in such surveys, but who’d have thought that it is literally the best place in the world to set up and run a company from a regulatory, administrative, and tax point of view – better even than low-tax Singapore, according to Doing Business 2017?
Or, perhaps even more startling, that Denmark – yes, high-tax, high-spend Denmark – the object of derision from the right and praise from the left, during the US presidential election campaign, is the fourth best place to operate a firm, exceeding laissez-faire Hong Kong as a business location? Similarly, Sweden’s brand of social democracy is often criticized as overbearing and fiscally unsustainable. Yet, Sweden is just behind the United States in ninth place.
If … Read More »
At the bottom of the EU/EFTA league table is — not that surprisingly — Italy, with an eye-watering total tax rate of 64.8 percent. Therefore, the recent approval by the Government of a draft budget with a heavy emphasis on cutting corporate tax was probably greeted with a degree of relief by most of Italy’s businesses. However, as is the case with most of the countries towards the bottom end of the ranking, the bulk of this tax burden consists of labor taxes. 43.4 percent in Italy’s case. I can’t knock the Government for approving what is, in the context of Italy’s fiscal restraints, a fairly bold business tax improvement plan. But perhaps Prime Minister Matteo Renzi is looking in the wrong place in his attempts to improve Italy’s competitiveness. Or, more to the point, perhaps he should be looking … Read More »
After little more than a year in power, it’s probably too early to judge Justin Trudeau and his Liberal Government’s handling of the Canadian economy. But looking from afar, it seems to be a case of so far so good. The IMF at least seems impressed. Welcoming the new Government’s pro-growth policies, it predicted in June this year that measures contained in the last Budget would boost GDP by 0.5 percent in each of the next two fiscal years.
However, it is those “pro-growth policies” – essentially a euphemism for higher public spending – have seen Canada go from a budget surplus to a budget deficit either side of the last election. And worryingly, while spending has been rising, tax revenues have been fluctuating. This is despite the fact that, generally speaking, the new Government has been raising taxes – or … Read More »
I can understand the arguments in favor of taxing America’s Olympic athletes. After all, we are talking about men and women who are highly rewarded for their endeavors through such things as sponsorship and product endorsements, aren’t we? Why should they get a tax break? Few other Americans, taxed as they are on their worldwide earnings, would. And anyway, isn’t the Olympics about the joy of participation in sport, rather than the money you get for participating?
Well, actually, no, not really. Aside from the fact that the amateur ethos that embodied the Olympic spirit has long since departed down the track, it’s a generalization, to say the least, to assume that every single member of the 558-string Team USA at the Rio Olympics is rolling in cash.
Yes, one would expect the higher end of the Olympic pay league table to be … Read More »
There has been a generally underwhelming response from businesses in France about the Government’s long-trumpeted plans to install a 28 percent intermediate rate of corporate tax. Earlier this year, Medef, the main employers’ association in France, slammed the proposal as a “half-measure” that would provide only a modicum of tax relief to a relatively small number of companies, much of which will be offset by the increased complexity and compliance costs brought about by having to account for an additional tax rate. That may be true, but the 2017 Budget could have been a lot worse for taxpayers, especially if the current Government had gone on as it started back in 2011, when it began its life raising tax left, right, and center. Indeed, if it had carried on in that vein, there would have been scarcely anything left untaxed … Read More »