Tax Evasion: Pressure to End Tax Evasion Grows as the Global Forum Publishes New Reviews

05/04/2012 – The Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes has just completed peer reviews of another 11 jurisdictions.

Reports on BrazilChileCosta RicaCyprusthe Czech RepublicGuatemalaMaltaMexicoSaint Vincent and the Grenadines and the Slovak Republic evaluate whether their national laws allow transparency and international exchange of tax information (Phase 1). The review of Korea also looked at the effectiveness of Korea’s exchange of information in practice (Phase 1 plus Phase 2). These reports bring to a total of 70 the number of peer review the Global Forum has completed since March 2010.

The Global Forum also issued 3 supplementary reports – for BarbadosBermuda and Qatar – which assess the whether these jurisdictions have acted upon the Forum’s recommendations to improve agreements and legislation. All three jurisdictions’ compliance with the international standards has progressing significantly. The Phase 2 reviews for Bermuda and Qatar will take place in the second half of 2012 and for Barbados in the first half of 2013. Continue Reading

OECD Recommends Action on International Tax Loopholes

Aggressive tax planning – untaxed income, multiple deductions and other forms of international tax arbitrage – is a growing concern for all governments.

OECD’s new report Hybrid Mismatch Arrangements: Tax Policy and Compliance Issues describes arrangements that exploit national differences in the tax treatment of instruments, entities or transfers to deduct the same expense in several different countries, to make income “disappear” between countries or to artificially generate several tax credits for the same foreign tax. Continue Reading

Taxation Could Promote Equality?

Addressing growing inequalities is now at the centre of the political debate and all countries are taking different actions to address it. Increasing inequality reaches far beyond economic implications, raising a number of political and ethical questions which have wide-ranging consequences for the future of all societies.

Globalisation and the sustainable growth path of many economies in transition and developed countries have produced impressive results in terms of economic growth, social development and poverty reduction. However, the benefits of stronger growth have not always been shared equally and income inequality has remained at very high levels. Achieving greater equality as a key to social cohesion remains a priority for every society. Continue Reading

UK non dom update

The consultation issued by the Government outlining proposed changes to the taxation of non-UK domiciled individuals, increases the remittance basis charge but encourage foreign investments in the UK. The remittance basis charge goes from the current £30k to £50k, only applied to those resident in the UK for 12 years or more.

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Questions regarding the prevalent Tax Law of the European Union

Once again the Campus of Jerez was the centre point for a development framework of a special forum which involved tax advisors, students, university professors and personnel from the Tax Office.  On this occasion, a new conference took place on questions of the prevalent taxation within the European Union which the University of Cadiz imparts within its Tax Advisory Master in conjunction with the Financial and Tax Law given at this University.

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Qatar Tax Policy

As part of a delegation of the Bar Council, I just returned from Qatar and was very pleased with the visit. We saw an energetic and enthusiastic country with a great vision. After doing my research and visiting the country, it is clear to me that Qatar has done the homework to become a recognized international player.

Qatar has a wide network of double taxation conventions with 40 jurisdictions, including many OECD and G20 countries as well as important regional partners. These DTCs generally include the old wording of article 26 of the OECD Model Tax Convention. Qatar’s DTCs with France, UK and Singapore contain the current version of article 26. These agreements apply equally to Qatar generally as well as to the QFC.

Qatar is focusing on further developing businesses and investments that will allow the country to continue being competitive beyond their current dependency on fossil energies. The Qatar Vision 2030 outlines clear steps to that end, which are clearly being executed. The 2022 world cup was not in the agenda some years ago, but will definitively help the country to achieve its goals.

In the tax arena Qatar is moving in the right direction as supported by the Law No. (21) of 2009, creating a corporation tax rate of 10% for all companies. According to the OECD report on Qatar

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From KYC to KY3.- The new anti bribery and corruption regulations in the US and the UK

Know Your Customer or KYC, predominated on the hyper regulated financial and legal profession in the 90s. Now that you Know Your Customers, it is time to start thinking in Knowing Your “Third Party” or KY3, and what are they doing for you.

As prosecution on acts of bribery and corruption is top in the agenda for the UK and the USA, a new compliance framework is being developed, specially for those trading in emerging markets, or in well established markets with sophisticated corruptions systems.

Bribery and corruption are rapidly establishing themselves as a permanent part of the financial crime portfolio as the UK and US begin to lock-step both legal practice and enforcement. Keith Korenchuk and Oliver Kerridge of Arnold & Porter LLP talk to MLB editor Timon Molloy about the transatlantic lessons and risks. Continue Reading

Gibraltar Road Toll and good neighborhood with La Linea

Does La Linea’s mayor care about good neighborhood with Gibraltar?

It is a shame that some Spaniards tackle a XXI Century issue with XIV Century measures. See The Guardian article on the most ridiculous initiative from a local mayor we have seen in decades, the establishment of an international border road toll between Gibraltar and La Linea.

This issue is not an isolated one and unfortunately there are still some Spaniards not recognizing the sovereign rights of Gibraltar as determined by its people and the United Kingdom. The Spanish Socialist government has been advocating for dialogue with Gibraltar and the UK, however talks these days seem to be lost in translation.

Why is the Spanish Government so reticent to conclude a treaty with Gibraltar? why is Gibraltar not removed from the Spanish taxhaven blacklist?

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Spanish Economy, heading in the right direction according to IMF report

On July 30, 2010, the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF)  issued its report on Spain.1 and welcomes the Government initiatives on Financial Institutions, deficit reduction and employment market reforms. Yes, Spain is going in the right direction, and this not just about Football!

The main challenge for the Spanish economy is not its financial stability, which is now clear after last weeks market reaction to the EU Banking stress tests, in which the Spanish Financial sector came as one of the strongest in the EU.

Ending the year 2010 with a public deficit of 9.3% is out of questions. The issue that the government must tackle is the paradigm shift from an economy relying on the construction industry toward improving innovation and the internationalization of the Spanish corporations, which is being primarily lead by the private sector as demonstrated by Banco Santander, BBVA, Abengoa, Telefonica and many other not so well known companies.

Summarizing, the IMF report restates the situation as perceived by most analysts and acknowledge the many challenges and the solutions. The IMF Board welcomes the government initiatives and suggests other necessary reforms. Overall, it seems from the report, what the Market has already understood, the Spanish Economy is heading in the right direction.

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Burdensome and costly tax requirements

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants told members of Congress recently they should repeal the section of the new health care law that requires businesses to report to the Internal Revenue Service any purchase from a vendor of goods or services worth $600 or more during the calendar year.

During the last few years we have watched the Tax Offices worldwide  ‘delegating’ their collector and investigation powers to Professionals and clients, which in some cases may benefit all parties.

The trend however is in crescendo at a time where most governments worldwide are looking at reducing their administration costs. The Tax Officials, in producing draft legislation, should be mindful in their collection zeal and try to balance collection vs. taxpayer’s rights.  A right balanced approach helps the economy, by helping the clients of the tax office to succeed in their businesses.

It is encouraging to see the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants in the US confronting a legislative initiative to protect taxpayer rights. Well done!

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