The Spanish Financial crisis and its source, the Spanish Saving Banks

The Spanish savings banks (SSBs) built-up excess capacity and risk concentration influenced by many stakeholders’ interests, including politicians in their decision-making bodies. SSBs were not subject to typical market discipline mechanisms, and blurred competences between the central government and the autonomous provoked the crisis of the Spanish financial system. Read the full analysis by the IMF in the attached documents.



Balancing the Books

£2.9bn, the cumulative worth of the 92 league clubs in England and Wales for 2010/11, up 9% on the previous season.

Deloitte’s Annual Review of Football Finance showed that despite the challenging economic conditions, football clubs are continuing to increase revenues and with £1.2bn paid to the treasury in Tax, football’s worth to the overall health of the economy cannot be underestimated.

Significantly, capital expenditure by these clubs totalled £167m in 2010/11 with over £3bn invested in stadia and facilities over the last 20 years. Continue Reading

The average tax burden on earnings in OECD countries continues to rise

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

The Life and Work Balance Concept is Outdated

Although this is not a tax topic, it will influence the way we think and will probably make life less taxing. The authors of Tribal Leadership declare work-life balance as a nonsense concept. According to them if you let it, it will damage your career, hurt your family, make your life mediocre and make you feel guilty all the time.

The article published recently in Money Watch is included below.

In 2000, my Tribal Leadership co-author John King and I devoted a chapter in The Coaching Revolution to why work-life balance was an idea whose time had passed. More than a decade later, with global social and economic problems on the rise, it’s time to leave the “work-life balance” concept on the scrap heap of history and move on to a better model. For those who have been living in a cave for the last 20 years, work-life balance is the idea that work and life are two different spheres, both wanting more time than you have to give.

Continue Reading

Private Equity Opportunities in the Gulf Region

Since opening our offices in Qatar we cannot but share the momentum that the region poses for Private Equity.

As reported by the CFH Group, the Private Equity in the MENA region can be summarized as follows:

A. Market / Motivation:

1. Interest from International Players: Many international groups are considering the GCC for potential investments owing to:

– Loss of momentum in other parts of the world (like the EU).

– Relatively robust economies of the GCC.

– Generous budgets as a result of oil revenues.

– A high growth potential in relatively underserved markets. Continue Reading

OECD Meets with Business Commentators on the Valuation of Intangibles for Transfer Pricing Purposes

On 7-9 November 2011, delegates from Working Party No. 6’s Special Session on the Transfer Pricing Aspects of Intangibles (“WP6-TPI”) met with private sector representatives to discuss definitional and ownership issues related to transfer pricing for intangibles. The agenda for the meeting, presentation material submitted by private sector participants and list of participants have now been published.

Presentations at the consultation focused on five topics: (i) the definition of intangibles for purposes of Chapter VI of the OECD Transfer Pricing Guidelines; (ii) the definition and treatment of goodwill for transfer pricing purposes; (iii) the definition of the term “brand” and the importance of brand in transfer pricing analyses; (iv) the appropriate approach for determining entitlement to intangible related returns for transfer pricing purposes; and (v)the importance of corporate synergies in a transfer pricing analysis.

Mr. Chris Lennon, the Chair of the BIAC Tax Committee, said that the overriding objective of the business community in connection with the project is to achieve certainty and to achieve a set of rules that will help eliminate double taxation. He pointed out that agreement on a set of consistently applied definitions was a key element in achieving those objectives. He urged the delegates not to reopen issues already clarified in the recently concluded project on business restructuring as reflected in Chapter IX of the 2010 version of the Transfer Pricing Guidelines. Continue Reading


In 2008 the Spanish Government chose to ‘eliminate’ wealth tax by applying a 100% exemption, instead of derogating the law. On 17 September 2011 the wealth tax was reintroduced by the Spanish Government as an ‘emergency economic measure’. The 100% exemption was changed to a tax free allowance of 700.000€ for tax years 2011 and 2012. Continue Reading

Tax Agreement between Kingdom of Spain and the Commonwealth of the Bahamas

The Tax Exchange agreement was published in the Spanish Gazzette the 15/7/2011

As per article 1, the agreement will facilitate that the competent authorities of the Contracting Parties shall provide assistance through exchanging information that is foreseeably relevant to the administration and enforcement of the domestic laws of the Contracting Parties concerning taxes covered by this Agreement. Continue Reading


The tax reliefs under the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) for investing in small company shares have been enhanced from 6 April 2011, with 30% income tax relief now available.

With small businesses finding it increasingly difficult to raise finance through the banks, seeking external investors could be well worth considering. The EIS scheme offers some fantastic tax reliefs to investors which make investing in small (and generally high risk) companies attractive, so if you want to attract investors in your business you should considering applying to use the scheme. Continue Reading

50% Tax Rate – Is it on the Way Out?

There is speculation that the 50% tax rate for those earning over £150,000 could be abolished by 2013. Both the Chancellor George Osborne and the Business Secretary Vince Cable have recently confirmed that the rate is considered to be temporary as mentioned in an article in The Guardian here.

Advice for those over the £150,000 threshold to avoid paying more tax than necessary in the interim: Continue Reading