Credit goes to EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom for talking up the possibility of a free trade agreement between the European Union and the United States. But is her optimism misplaced? That the 11 non-US signatories of the Trans-Pacific Partnership have agreed to forge ahead with what initially promised to be the most ambitious regional free trade to date suggests that they consider any attempt to renegotiate the deal with the US to be a waste of time. So perhaps expecting the EU and US to make progress on what could be the world’s most complex FTA to date in the current political environment is unrealistic. Besides, the US perhaps has enough in its trade inbox to cope with for now after formally beginning the legislative process to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, which is unlikely to be a smooth … Read More »
The OECD doesn’t have a blacklist of non-cooperative jurisdictions right now. At least, if there is a sheet of paper filed somewhere in its Paris headquarters under “blacklist,” there are no jurisdictions on it. However, blacklists, it seems, are all around us. Individual countries, particularly in the European Union, maintain them, and the EU is at present attempting to compile a definitive blacklist of jurisdictions that are supposedly soft on tax and financial crime, albeit with some difficulty.
The fact that the EU is struggling to complete what should be, on the surface, an easy task – after all, it’s only a list of countries and territories – hints at the flaws inherent in a blacklist. The criteria used to determine a “bad” jurisdiction in tax and legal terms is subjective, and can vary from one country to another. One state’s bad egg … Read More »
In the current political climate, with the financial crisis still fresh in the memory (even though the height of the crisis was almost a decade ago), political parties can almost certainly expect to gain some votes with proposals to impose higher taxes on banks. At the very least, it’s hard to imagine such a policy being a vote loser. But what is politically popular doesn’t necessarily equate to effective tax policy.
Some would say that the banking sector got off very lightly for its role in creating the financial mess that still hasn’t been fully cleared up. But governments have to be very careful in how they structure additional taxes on banks, because as the Australian Bankers’ Association warned in response to the recent announcement of a new levy on Australia’s five largest banks, such measures can have “unintended consequences.”
Poland is a good … Read More »
This week, I’ll be looking at the often-murky world of soccer. It is the planet’s most-watched sport, but it’s never far from controversy, as the FIFA corruption scandal demonstrated. It also has its fair share of run-ins with the taxman too, with the recent raids of two prominent English soccer clubs the latest such development.
However, this is an issue of wider significance, rather than one confined to the tax controversies at the top end of sport. And, appropriately enough, it also touches on the subject of tax competition too.
Some governments are more than willing to offer tax concessions to attract highly skilled – and highly remunerated – workers and investors to their shores. But, to my knowledge, such concessions rarely seem to be extended to professional sports people, including in the soccer world.
The issue of executive pay, the king’s ransom that some … Read More »
Things seem fairly predictable in France at the moment, and pollsters – a profession which has taken something of a reputational knock recently – must have breathed a sigh of relief when the first round of the French elections ended as predicted, with Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen through to the upcoming run-off vote.
Yet, there’s an element of the unknown about both choices. For this isn’t the usual straight fight between mainstream left and right; it’s a contest between a relatively politically inexperienced unaffiliated centrist and a firebrand nationalist.
In an age when many politicians are accused of being cut from the same cloth and eternally vying for the middle ground, nobody can accuse Macron and Le Pen of being the same, including in the area of tax. Consequently, for business taxpayers, tax policy could go in two very different directions … Read More »