An article in The Guardian by Simon Bowers reports that ‘the island should be ready to become independent, says senior minister after political attacks on finance industry.’
The full article can be found at The Guardian here, or can be read below:
A barrage of regulatory clampdowns and political attacks on the Channel Islands’ controversial financial industry has prompted one of Jersey’s most senior politicians to call for preparations to be made to break the “thrall of Whitehall” and declare independence from the UK.
Sir Philip Bailhache, the island’s assistant chief minister, said: “I feel that we get a raw deal. I feel it’s not fair … I think that the duty of Jersey politicians now is to try to explain what the island is doing and not to take things lying down.
“The island should be prepared to stand up for itself and should be ready to become independent if it were necessary in Jersey’s interest to do so.” Continue Reading
10/05/2012 – The OECD’s Task Force on Tax and Development, meeting in Cape Town, South Africa, has launched the concept of Tax Inspectors Without Borders/ Inspecteurs des impôts sans frontières – a new initiative to help developing countries bolster their domestic revenues by making their tax systems fairer and more effective. Building on that concept, the OECD will establish an independent foundation, to be up and running by the end of 2013, that will provide international auditing expertise and advice to help developing countries better address tax base erosion, including tax evasion and avoidance. The initiative was championed by Oupa Magashula, Commissioner General of the South Africa Revenue Service, Nhlanhla Nene, South Africa’s Deputy Finance Minister and Pascal Saint-Amans, Director the OECD’s Centre for Tax Policy and Administration.
The stakeholders from business, civil society, as well as OECD and developing country governments attending the Tax and Development Task Force unanimously welcomed the initiative which fills a gap in the existing provision of audit assistance. They agreed to work together to launch a sustainably financed independent organisation to host a Tax Inspectors Without Borders secretariat by the end of next year. This initiative complements several efforts by donor agencies, notably USAID, to mobilise expertise. Continue Reading
The average tax burden on earnings in OECD countries continues to rise
Published in OECD Tax News – 25/04/2012
25/04/012 – The average tax and social security burden on employment incomes increased in 26 out of 34 OECD countries in 2011 according to the new OECD Taxing Wages publication. Tax payers in Ireland, Luxembourg, Portugal and the Slovak Republic were among those hit with the largest increases. Those in New Zealand and the United States saw their tax burden fall. In Hungary, the average single worker without children was faced with the largest increase in the tax wedge, but for families with children, it fell.
In most countries the higher overall tax burden was due to personal income tax, rather than increased Social Security Contributions. Only 5 countries raised their statutory tax rates on average earnings. In most cases the rise in the tax burden was due to a higher proportion of earnings being subject to tax because the value of tax free allowances and tax credits fell relative to earnings. In a few countries including the Czech Republic, Hungary and Ireland they were actually reduced in nominal terms.
Taxing Wages provides nationally comparative details about the taxation of employment incomes and the associated costs to employers for different household types and at different earnings levels. These are the key factors in determining the incentives both for individuals to seek work and for businesses to hire workers. Continue Reading
UK Tax Budget 2012 – The Association of Taxation Technicians has produced a Special Report on the March Budget in their April 2012 Newsletter. The full Report is detailed below:
The contents of George Osborne’s third Budget were so well rehearsed that the real thing threatened to be an anti-climax. Was there anything left that the Chancellor could surprise us with, especially as he had such little fiscal room for manoeuvre?
The answer was both yes and no. After all the income tax rumours, Mr Osborne decided to make the change to 45% from April 2013. His 2013/14 increase in the personal allowance allowed him to start phasing out the age allowance – an unexpected revenue-raising ploy.
Income tax bands, rates and personal allowances All income tax rates for 2012/13 will remain at their 2011/12 levels. For 2013/14 the personal allowance will rise from £8,105 to £9,205 and there will be a £2,125 reduction in the basic rate limit from £34,370 to £32,245.
From 2013/14, there will be no increase in the age-related personal allowances and their availability will be restricted to people born before 6 April 1948 for the allowance worth £10,500, and 6 April 1938 for the allowance worth £10,660. The aim is to phase out the age-related allowances within a few years. For 2013/14 the additional rate of tax will be reduced from 50% to 45% (from 42.5% to 37.5% for dividends). The rates of tax for trusts will be similarly reduced.
A cap on unlimited income tax reliefs will apply to income tax reliefs that individuals will be able to claim from 6 April 2013. The cap will apply only to reliefs that are currently unlimited – e.g. qualifying interest payments. For anyone seeking to claim more than £50,000 in reliefs, a cap will be set at 25% of income (or £50,000, whichever is greater). Continue Reading
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 Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Guatemala, Malta, Mexico, Saint 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 Barbados, Bermuda 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
On March 30, 2012, the Spanish government announced the 2012 budget. At the same time, the government approved Royal Decree-Law 12/2012, which introduces a number of relevant changes in the corporate tax area, including new limitations on the deductibility of interest expense.
Following a trend started by other European governments, the Spanish government has introduced an interest-capping rule that replaces the existing thin capitalization provisions. The new interest-capping rule, which will apply to both related- and unrelated-party debt, limits tax relief for net interest expense to 30 percent of the taxpayer’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (“EBITDA”), with some adjustments. For entities that are part of a tax consolidated group, this 30-percent limit will apply to the EBITDA of the group. Continue Reading
The Spanish Government has approved a special incentive to disclose untaxed cash amounts (black money) at a special 10% rate, without further interest, penalty and/or tax investigations.
This will allow residents and non residents alike to bring into the Spanish system any amount of undisclosed cash held anywhere in the world.
The constitutionality of this measure is to be seen and I personally have many other questions such as the procedure to be followed, KYC and compliance with international anti money laundering regulations.
An interesting way to open the Pandora box. Keep watching this space!
According to an article published by OECD on 28.03.12, at a meeting at OECD’s first Global Forum on Transfer Pricing tax, officials from 90 countries agreed on the need to simplify transfer pricing rules, strengthen the guidelines on intangible issues and improve the efficiency of dispute resolution.
Transfer pricing rules determine how international transactions within a multinational company must be priced to ensure each country receives its fair share of tax. Based on the OECD and UN Model tax conventions, the rules are meant to eliminate double taxation and ensure better compliance by companies. These rules now need to be simplified and made more robust. This is particularly critical in the area of intangible assets, whose location may have a strong impact on tax revenues.
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
As reported by Grant Thornton, the Obama administration submitted a budget proposal on Feb. 13 with well over 100 proposed tax provisions that would result in trillions of dollars of revenue changes. The tax platform in the budget proposal is largely an amalgamation of provisions from earlier legislative initiatives and previous budgets, but it does include several new proposals affecting high-income individuals and multinational taxpayers.
The most significant new position may be the President’s call to return the top dividend tax rate to 39.6%. Last year’s budget proposed preserving the equivalent treatment of capital gains and qualified dividends, with the top rate for both increasing from a 15% rate to just 20%.