Friday, July 08, 2016

What the Frack? Banks As Tax Planning Intermediaries

Even Warren Buffett admits, “My friends and I have been coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress.”

lyphosate: the pesticide industry keeps the data secrecy scandal going in the name of ‘investment protection’ Corporate Europe Observatory

Vice presidential candidate Bill Weld, at Libertarian ticket town hall with Gary Johnson: trade war that followed Smoot-Hawley tariff “croaked the world economy.” Points for using “croaked” in a policy debate [CNN transcript

FBI’s Clinton decision proves rules don’t apply to rich and powerful The Hill

How the Hedge Fund Billionaires Get Away With Obscene  Tax Avoidance

Parliaments across Europe intensify calls for more corporation tax transparency

'Home' to 66% of top 500 firms, US domestic tax haven Delaware

US Mining Swiss Bank Data to Find Tax Cheats

LuxLeaks, law and justice all part of tax scandal trial in Luxembourg  
David Brunori, What the Frack? (Tax Analysts Blog). “Shell’s revenue is about $270 billion. That’s like 80 percent of the Netherlands’ GDP. Shell has a market cap of about $188 billion. So I’ll leave it to you to ponder whether a giant company would make a billion-dollar investment decision based on a benefit that comes out to about $64 million a year.”

New York Times:  Tax Dodging on the High Seas, by Gail Collins:
While many of the biggest cruise lines appear to be headquartered in Florida, they are, for tax purposes, actually proud residents of … elsewhere. “Carnival is a Panamanian corporation; Royal Caribbean is Liberian,” said Ross Klein, who tracks the industry through his Cruise Junkie website.

Australia: Coalition's company tax cuts: more than 40% of benefit flows overseas, report finds

Leslie Book, DOJ Cracking Down on Preparers Using its Injunction Powers and Requiring Preparer to Disgorge Illicit Profits (Procedurally Taxing).

A $25 billion deal is nothing to sneeze at.
So does Iran. Its air fleet is said to contain some of the oldest and most dangerous planes in the world. Now Iran can modernize the fleet.
According to Rep. Pete Roskam, Iran could use its new planes to ferry troops and weapons around the Middle East. But that’s no skin off of Boeing’s back. Or Pickering’s.
* An excellent source for in-house lawyers, and yes, it’s free. Unless You Ask: A Guide For Law Departments to Get More From External Relationships [Association of Corporate Counsel]

Banks As Tax Planning Intermediaries
We provide the first large-sample evidence of banks playing an important role in facilitating tax planning by client firms.

Distributional Implications of Joint Tax Evasion
Both buyers and sellers of goods and services may benefit from letting their economic transactions go unrecorded for tax purposes. We use various data sources to identify tax evasion among sellers and buyers of goods and services. Results clearly suggest that the tax-evasion-controlled estimate of income inequality in Norway exhibits more income dispersion than official estimates

Andrea Leadsom and Theresa May pressed to publish tax returns

David Kamin (NYU), Legislating for Good Times and Bad, 53 Harv. J. on Legis. ___ (2016):
Congress tends to move in fits and starts. Major policy changes are often followed by periods of legislative stasis. This means that, even as circumstances change and policies may no longer be appropriate in the new conditions, Congress may not respond. This is the problem of “policy drift.”
The academic literature has recognized this challenge and largely focused on one particular type of solution employed by Congress: empowerment of other institutions that can move more quickly, in particular administrative agencies or the courts. However, this view is far too limited. Congress can keep such authority in its hands and still address policy drift, sometimes even more effectively.
This article is the first to comprehensively consider the tools available to Congress to address such drift.

Jack Townsend, On Foreign Enabler Indictments, Sealed Indictments and INTERPOL Red Alerts. “I am told that a number of Swiss bankers and other enablers during the heyday of their U.S. tax games (up to the UBS resolution in 2009 and even beyond that who tried to continue the scam) now fear to leave Switzerland.”

Public Pressure and Corporate Tax Behavior
We use a shock to the public scrutiny of firm subsidiary locations to investigate whether that scrutiny leads to changes in firms’ disclosure and corporate tax avoidance behaviour.
The results suggest that public pressure from outside activist groups can exert a significant influence on the behaviour of large, publicly traded firms.
Speaking at the end of a summit in Brussels where EU leaders started trying to pick through the wreckage after David Cameron’s referendum defeat, Mr Hollande warned that it would be unacceptable for clearing — a crucial stage in trading of derivatives and equities — to take place in the UK.
“The City, which thanks to the EU was able to handle clearing operations for the eurozone, will not be able to do them,” he said. “It can serve as an example for those who seek the end of Europe . . . It can serve as a lesson.” Czech Out the FT story 

Michele Bergantino, 48, a citizen of Italy and a resident of Switzerland, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee to conspiring to defraud the United States by assisting U.S. taxpayers to conceal foreign accounts and evade U.S. tax during his employment as a banker working for Credit Suisse AG on its North American desk. The DOJ Press Release is The DOJ Press Release 

Mossack Fonseca’s US operations under pressure, island offices closed

LuxLeaks whistleblower avoids jail after guilty verdict

On Foreign Enabler Indictments, Sealed Indictments and INTERPOL Red Alerts

Judge Hands Entrepreneur Sam Wyly a $1.1 Billion Tax Bill

 German government agrees to ban fracking after years of dispute Guardian
Finance as a driver of growth: New evidence VoxEU. UK data, but finds finance is important for smaller companies, less so for bigger one. And who is well v. badly served by the financial services industry in the US?

Yesterday we posted about the North Carolina man who prosecutors say had the poor judgment to post YouTube videos of his staged crashes. It is continually surprising that people keep right on posting YouTube videos of themselves doing things inconsistent with their disability or injury claims. Don’t they expect anyone to watch? As for persons intending to commit claims fraud in stores, many appear entirely unaware that there are security cameras there to catch them doing things like “carefully positioning the spills on which they intended to slip.” 

Welfare debt crackdown grabs tax return cash 
The evolving tax profession

Google's tax-rate in Sweden is just 0.1 percent - here's why

New York Banking Regulator to Publish New Rules to Fight Money Laundering

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) arrests three as part of investigation into suspected £300m corporation tax scam

UK House of Commons rejects call for a public country-by-country reporting

Dashcam videos are a genre to themselves, and popular compilations abound (Russia is a leader in the field) of footage of spectacular accidents, poor driving and road hazards as seen from the front of a speeding car. One reason dashcams are popular in many countries (often more so than here) is that they serve to document accident fault, including deliberately caused or simulated accidents. This American video (by a company promoting sale of its dashcams) gives a flavor.