Can anything good really come from referendums? It’s the purest form of democracy, but recent history suggests such plebiscites can be more of a hindrance than a help. Enough said about the UK already. But it’s worth remembering how the Irish didn’t vote the way they were supposed to on the Lisbon Treaty back in 2007. Rather embarrassingly for all concerned, Ireland had to go back to the polls until it put enough crosses in the right box.
The Swiss of course love a referendum. It’s ingrained into their unique system of direct democracy. But where taxation is concerned, this system is causing the government a bit of grief. Switzerland is considered a pariah state by some of the world’s anti-avoidance and transparency campaigners. As such, it needs quite urgently to change its corporate tax regime. This is not only to … Read More »
Nike is the latest multinational company to become embroiled in the European Commission’s tax ruling/transfer pricing/state aid investigations. It’s probably unlikely to be the last, either.
It’s my view these investigations aren’t about upholding the state aid rules. They’re about the EU being seen to be doing something about corporate tax avoidance. Because the trouble is it’s highly likely that the tax arrangements in question are perfectly above board. So it’s on shaky legal ground from the off.
For the EU, the probes will have likely damaged its reputation as a place to do business, as for businesses the impact of these cases is less to do with tax breaks and tax avoidance as to do with tax certainty. While we can argue all year long about the rights and wrongs of corporate tax planning, corporations like to know not only what’s … Read More »
It’s the start of a new working year, and in the field of taxation it’s very much business as usual. In the United States, taxpayers and their advisers are no doubt still busy poring over the details of reams of proposed new tax regulations which have been issued in recent weeks. And looking ahead, they will also need to get to grips with a new package of technical corrections to the TJCA, as well as to existing tax law.
As has become almost customary, the political climate in Washington is unlikely to help matters, though. We now have a split Congress and a Democrat-controlled House of Representatives that is likely to oppose President Donald Trump at every turn, just as the Republican Congress did in the final years of President Obama’s premiership. A hint of the bipartisan politics to come was … Read More »
Tax is something that most people merely grin and bear, albeit through gritted teeth. But it’s sometimes much more exciting than that. Indeed, it can change the course of history. Think the Boston Tea Party or Magna Carta. America might still be ruled by Britain, and Britain ruled by kings and queens, or portly prince-regents with more interest in pies than the parliamentary process. All (or largely) because of tax.
In many countries, 2018 ended in an inferno of tax-motivated protests. Not quite revolutions, but fervent enough to change a government’s mind. The “gilet jaunes” demonstrations in France was the most widely-reported example. But the movement has seemingly inspired similar tax-motivated outcries as far afield as Canada and Taiwan. The streets of Jordan’s capital, Amman, have also reverberated to the sounds of anti-tax protests recently.
Tax cuts, on the other hand, never, … Read More »