Wednesday, October 22, 2008

International News - Oct 22

** Also see here for a permanent list of past story summaries; and Offshore Watch for more stories. **

One in four big companies skip tax
Oct 21 (FT) - More than one in four of Britain’s biggest companies do not pay corporation tax as a result of tax avoidance, tax relief or actual losses. A surprising result.

Series: A new Bretton Woods
Oct 21 (Guardian) – TJN’s senior adviser Richard Murphy explains why tax havens, the international financial system's "get out of regulation free card", must be tackled in any attempt to reform global finance.

Obscure Tax Breaks Increase Cost of Financial Rescue
Oct 18 (WSJ) - IRS and Treasury Take Series of Steps for Investors Caught Up in Crisis, Sparking Complaints of Overstepping Authority

OECD countries at loggerheads over tax havens
Oct 21 (TJN) - Germany's finance minister, Peer Steinbrück, has said that Switzerland, its neighbour, has refused to cooperate on tax issues and should be put on a black list of tax havens.

Supply-side economics and tax-cutting
Oct 21 (TJN) - Citizens for Tax Justice (CTJ) in the US have issued a new report looking at supply-side economics, and an argument that tax cuts will always produce so much growth that the cuts will actually increase revenues.

London's slide towards pariah status
Oct 17 (TJN) - A new OECD report has chastised Britain for its tolerance of bribery.

Morgenthau: Too Much Money Is Beyond Legal Reach
Oct 17 (TJN) - Robert Morgenthau, a legend among U.S. crime-fighters, writes in the Wall St. Journal looking at the role of tax havens in the financial crisis. It kind of reinforces some of the things we have been saying.

IMF, OECD follow TJN in linking tax havens with crisis
Oct 18 (TJN) - We welcome very strongly a number of statements that have been emerging from the IMF and the OECD in recent days, linking tax havens strongly to the current economic crisis.

Carl Levin on Regulating Offshore Jurisdictions
Oct 20 (TJN) - US Senator Carl Levin, chairman of the US Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (among several other roles), has issued a strong statement against offshore abuses.

Banking specialist advocates tax haven attack
Oct 20 (TJN) - French media is filling up with stories about how tax havens are at the root of the current economic crisis.

Do bankers need blinkers?
Oct 20 (TJN) - We'll spare you the details of the Angolagate trials that opened in Paris this month, and focus on just one quote that has emerged from Jean-Didier Maille, one of 42 people currently on trial in Paris. "When you're a banker, you have to know how to have blinkers.”

Bring back bonds
Oct 16 (Guardian) - PFI structures are a loan by any other name, and we are set to pay the price for them. Time to think again. By Richard Murphy.

Editorial: New Attacks on Finance Sector must not be Ignored
Oct 16 (Cayman Net News) - The financial services industry in the Cayman Islands may soon have to cope with yet another twist in the ongoing fallout from the global credit crisis, namely that the governments in a number of major industrialised countries are or soon will be substantial shareholders in several large international banks.

Brass-necked cheek
Oct 17 (Tax Research UK) – Jersey is to ask major European banking centres to extend savings guarantees to Jersey to protect depositors in the offshore finance industry on which the Island’s economy depends. Richard Murphy is, to put it mildly, amazed.

PWC: promoting VAT in the UAE
Oct 19 (Tax Research UK) - PWC thinks VAT is the answer to all taxation problems. Richard Murphy disagrees.

France calls for uniform global financial rules
Oct 19 (Reuters) - French Prime Minister Francois Fillon, addressing his country's vision for reforming the troubled world financial system, called on Sunday for uniform rules that apply everywhere including in tax havens.

The mad world of shadow bankers
Oct 16 (TJN) - Gordon Brown has still to deal with the toughest problem of all - how to clean out a contaminated system. Investigating the shadow banking system and off balance sheet accounting. The truth is, no one knows what's out there.

Gap between UK’s rich and poor narrows
Oct 21 (FT) - Income inequality and poverty have fallen faster in the UK since 2000 than in any other developed country. An economic recession in the UK could lead to it increasing again.

OECD Tax Burdens On The Rise
Oct 17 ( - The OECD’s latest Annual Report of Revenue Statistics has shown that Denmark possesses the highest tax-to-GDP ratio in 2007, at 48.9%, followed by Sweden with the second highest at 48.2%.

Taiwan To Slash Inheritance And Gift Taxes
Oct 21 (Law and Tax - Proposals for a substantial cut in inheritance and gift taxes, in response to aggressive tax competition, have been approved by Taiwan’s cabinet.

Network Banking: a radical solution for the UK’s banking crisis
Oct 20 (Tax Research UK) - Everywhere you turn at present you read or hear people saying there is a need for a fundamental reform of the banking system. The difficulty is that as yet I have not seen anyone say how to do it.

ING to receive €10 billion from the Dutch
Oct 19 (IHT) - The Dutch government said Sunday that it would inject €10 billion into ING Group after the financial services company became the latest victim of the global financial crisis.

This toxic crisis needs more than one shot
Oct 20 (FT) - What makes this credit crisis so toxic is that it involves numerous feedback loops with the real economy. This is why simple one-shot solutions such as last week's rescue plans are not going to be as effective as many people think

The savers they forgot to mention
Oct 18 (Guardian) - Spare a thought for those who, through no fault of their own, put their money in offshore banks and now find they're not covered by the rescue plan

No case to answer for Berlusconi in Spanish tax fraud probe: lawyer
Oct 19 (AFP) — Spain's court of last resort has said there is no case to answer over a long-running tax fraud probe against Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, ANSA news agency quoted his lawyer as saying Friday.

Figure it out
Oct 16 (Guardian) - The British government is happy to bail out the banks, but when is it going to bail out the poor? By Prem Sikka.

Switzerland Bails Out UBS; Credit Suisse Raises Funds (Update2)
Oct. 16 (Bloomberg) -- Switzerland provided UBS AG, the European bank with the biggest losses from the credit crisis, a $59.2 billion rescue and pushed Credit Suisse Group AG to raise funds, joining authorities around the world in shoring up banks.

The end of tax havens?
Oct 16 (Tax Research UK) - It is very clear that a struggle for the future of control of the world’s financial system is developing. The bankers think it is the state’s job to give them any cash they need to maintain them in their irresponsibility. Some states do not see it that way.

I.R.S. to Tighten Tax Oversight of Foreign Banks
Oct 15 (NYT) - The Internal Revenue Service is tightening up its oversight of foreign banks that sell offshore services to wealthy American clients, a move intended to stem what officials have called rampant tax evasion.

What Went Wrong
Oct 15 (Washington Post) - How did the world's markets come to the brink of collapse? Some say regulators failed. Others claim deregulation left them handcuffed. Who's right? Both are. This is the story of how Washington didn't catch up to Wall Street.


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