Thursday, October 27, 2016

Killing Drivers and Paper Money: UBS spending $1 billion on IT overhaul

The great secret that all old people share is that you really haven't changed 
in seventy or eighty years.  Your body changes, but you don't change at all. 
And that, of course, causes great confusion. 
— Doris Lessing, born on this date in 1919

There’s a well-known order of business for foreigners trying to invest in emerging markets. Before you do anything else, hand a slice of your consortium to a local oligarch who can open doors in government and help soothe nationalist sentiments...
Bloomberg warns of the rise Aussie “oligarchs” MacroBusiness

UBS spending $1 billion on IT overhaul Reuters

India’s economic journey: why should Europe care? Bruegel

‘Rip-off’ drug firms exposed by Times face massive fines The Times. Funny how we can’t make that happen in the US.

Apple’s Next Goal Is Killing Paper Money Once and For All Fortune

"ABC staff have now secured a modest pay rise while holding onto the vast majority of their rights and conditions and gaining important new benefits that should be provided by all modern employers," the union's national secretary Nadine Flood said. "Even better, they've done so without a long and divisive fight with their bosses."  "There couldn't be clearer evidence that it's the Turnbull Government that's to blame for the Commonwealth bargaining impasse.
ABC of Backpay ..

Children of the Revolution City Journal The Art of Forgetting ...

Peter Reilly, Trump Had A Point About His Own Taxes In The Debate. “Maybe not much of a point, but still a point.”  Also: “Public accounting firms at the regional and large local level tend to be run by somewhat sociopathic dictators of greater or lesser benevolence.”

Jim Maule, Tax Ignorance in the Comics. You may be shocked to learn that cartoons may lack nuance and tax sophistication.

Aidan Russell Davis, On Revenues and Referenda: Weighing Cigarette Tax Increases (Tax Justice Blog). “Taking a step back from the specific merits and drawbacks, the use of cigarette taxes to plug budget gaps is bad policy.”

Morgan ScarboroProposition 56: Will Californians Triple Their Cigarette Tax? (Tax Policy Blog). “Cigarette taxes have a host of unintended consequences, including the incentivization ofcigarette smuggling…Cigarette smuggling has become a profitableand at times violent criminal enterprise that has even been used to fund terrorist organizations due to its high reward, low-risk nature.”

Richard Phillips, Companies Engaged in Offshore Shell Games Spending Millions Lobbying Congress (Tax Justice Blog)

Sam Brunson, Talking Tax on Twitter. “Because the physically-unbounded nature of Twitter means that the discussions aren’t just between academics—in these discussions, there were tax academics, tax journalists, tax practitioners, and tax think-tank folks.” You can join me in following Sam: @smbrnsn. While I disagree with him most of the time, he’s smart and informative.

Alvin Chang, I trolled my IRS scammers for weeks. I learned something really dark ( “‘Yes, that one — iTunes gift card,’ he said. ‘What is the biggest one you see?'”

Tyler Cowen, The year that is 2016 (Marginal Revolution):

Japan’s Financial Services Agency is nearing a landmark decision on the status and securitisation of PokeCoins, the virtual currency used to breed rare monsters in the highly successful mobile game Pokémon Go.
The FSA, which has not formally disclosed when it will make its ruling, is debating the issue with Pokémon Go’s US-based creator, Niantic. The outcome, according to lawyers scrutinising the matter, could oblige domestic Japanese and overseas companies whose games are available in Japan to secure the virtual money they have sold to local gamers with substantial deposits of real-world yen.

Sometimes love isn’t all you need. Compensation causes income tax. Gifts don’t. This made all the difference in a Tax Court case this week.
The record shows that the transfers were made to compensate Mr. J for his services as pastor. See Banks v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 1991-641. As Mr. J candidly explained at trial, he had informed the board of directors that he would accept “love offerings” and gifts as substitutes for a salary. Ms. Simmons, the church’s bookkeeper at the time, considered the payments to be compensation as is reflected in the Form 1099-MISC that she issued to Mr. J. In the light of these facts, petitioners’ subjective characterization of the transfers as nontaxable “love offerings” and “love gifts” is misguided.  Cite: Jackson, T.C. Summ. Op. 2016-69

SEC fines Ernst & Young for not spotting client’s earnings manipulation Francine McKenna, MarketWatch

How Amazon counterfeits put this man’s business on brink of collapse CNBC

 Panama: The Hidden Trillions NYRB

Half of U.S. adults are in a face recognition database

How schools are turning ‘joy’ into a character strength — and why it’s an awful idea Washington Post. Furzy: “Big Bro demands you be happy!”