Monday, October 26, 2020

Repairing the Tax Privacy Rules

Good Law Project forces HMRC to collect £1.5bn in VAT from Uber

Posted on October 23 2020

I share this from the Good Law Project, just published: Way back in April 2017, we announced we were going to take on HMRC’s failure to
Read the full article…

Steven Dean (NYU), The Truth About Taxes: George Floyd Died, Donald Trump Got Millions:

This year, each of us has lost something. I am fortunate that my biggest loss has been my faith in our tax system.

In 2014, Eric Garner died at the hands of police officers after being suspected of evading taxes by selling cigarettes without tax stamps. That same year, Donald Trump was also suspected of evading income taxes. But unlike Garner, who was killed by police, Trump reached a favorable legal settlement with the IRS.

The New York Times recently revealed that Trump had not engaged in “smart” tax planning as he had boasted during his 2016 presidential campaign but seems to have simply lied to secure a $72.9 million refund. And, thanks to a highly successful effort by Republicans to weaken the IRS, Trump has gotten away with it for years.

Arrest Warrants Issued for Founders of Panama Papers Firm

Finger-pointing continues as bureaucrat produces list of council grants 

Inner West councillors accuse staff of spying on emails, phone calls

The president has attacked Dr. Anthony Fauci and all of science. He said that "people are tired of listening to Fauci and all those idiots." Where "idiots" refers to the scientists who have provided a growing understanding of the nature of COVID-19 in just 8 months since the disease first appeared. He insults all scientists by saying that Joe Biden will "listen to the scientists," as if listening to facts, instead of conspiracy theories, is a bad thing. The president has vilified scientists as if we are the new threat to America. 

In science, truth is paramount. Science is the search for truth, a truth that evolves as we learn. Truth matters and the past four years serving as a painful reminder of how much we have taken truth for granted

Science seeks truth, Trump denies it

George K. Yin (Virginia), Repairing the Tax Privacy Rules:

This brief essay, adapted from remarks delivered to the Tax Policy and Simplification Committee of the ABA Tax Section on October 2, 2020, describes needed changes in three tax privacy areas: access and disclosure of presidential tax information, civil enforcement of congressional subpoenas, and confidentiality protections for tax return information obtained by subpoena.

The essay also explains the problematic nature of public disclosures of tax information, including the recent reports published by the New York Times about President Trump’s taxes

Artificial Lawyer – “Global law firm Baker McKenzie is to try and predict client demand through a partnership with AI company SparkBeyond. The Big Data-crunching and predictive analysis company also works with several governments around the world. Knowing what your clients will want from you before perhaps they or the rest of the market does is the Holy Grail of predictive intelligence for many businesses. This would allow the firm to get in the right shape and allocate the right resources early, as well as prepare marketing initiatives to win work before many other firms had perhaps thought to consider a certain sales strategy or noticed a new type of client need. The move comes as the firm’s Reinvent Law innovation group moves beyond its former Frankfurt base and takes on a global role, with the prediction experiment the first project it has taken on. A spokesperson for Bakers told Artificial Lawyer the idea is that the firm will feed in its own data about the work it does to SparkBeyond, which will then study patterns in a mass of other economic and sector-related data that is has access to already. From there it will make some predictions about what Bakers’ clients may need from it in the future. The spokesperson said: ‘We will be testing this on ourselves first, and then if we can identify what clients will want next, we can then look at developing client solutions.’..”

MakeUseOf – “If you want to post the same content across multiple social networks at once, these are the tools you need. Social media has become an inseparable part of modern life. As an individual, your social media profiles are a way to convey your desired persona to people who don’t really know you yet. Whether it’s a potential life partner or a future employer. 
For others, social media is a necessity for making money. Influencers use social media to promote products in return for a fee, while freelancers and businesses use it to attract new clients. All of this has made the task of keeping your social media accounts updated even more important. But there’s no need to let social media take over your life. Numerous tools let you schedule posts to a number of platforms at the same time, with other features including curation, reposting, and more. Here are our top picks…”

Make Use Of – “Spend all day staring at a monitor? You could be suffering from eye strain: pain, blurriness, and headaches. A new monitor could relieve your eyes! If you’re experiencing the symptoms of eye strain, the best solution is to spend less time looking at screens. However, if you can’t afford to take your eyes off of your monitor, there are ways to reduce the effect they have on your eyes. Here are a few ways where a new purchase can reduce monitor eye strain…”

Ogbuefi, Nnubia, RTBF: The Urgent Need for Expiration Date of Personal Information in the Cyberspace (April 10, 2020). Available at SSRN: or

“The internet is an information highway that remembers all our deeds and transgressions. It keeps track of all information posted online and recalls this information when there is a search for results. So, it was easier to find a person’s past deeds and misdeeds online. The need to recollect accessible information drew the court’s attention to the concept of the right to be forgotten. Now, Google Transparency reports that there are currently 4,572,951,633 URLs requests for delisting globally. This is a huge figure for the search engine to handle. Also, the court bestowed the powers to decide what information to delist are in the hands of the tech companies. By so doing, the determination of the right of a person over their personal information is in the hands of the private companies. This paper elucidates the concept of the right to be forgotten and the urgent need for personal information to have an expiration date in the database of the data controller and processor. Also, this paper using Lessig’s pathetic dot theory shall analyze the applicability of an expiration date to personal information globally as with the services offered by most data controllers and data processors.”

TechCrunch: “Google is putting AI and machine learning technologies into the hands of journalists. The company this morning announced a suite of new tools, Journalist Studio, that will allow reporters to do their work more easily. At launch, the suite includes a host of existing tools as well as two new products aimed at helping reporters search across large documents and visualizing data. The first tool is called Pinpoint and is designed to help reporters work with large file sets — like those that contain hundreds of thousands of documents. Pinpoint will work as an alternative to using the “Ctrl + F” function to manually seek out specific keywords in the documents. Instead, the tool takes advantage of Google Search and its AI-powered Knowledge Graph, along with optical character recognition and speech-to-text technologies. It’s capable of sorting through scanned PDFs, images, handwritten notes and audio files to automatically identify the key people, organizations and locations that are mentioned. Pinpoint will highlight these terms and even their synonyms across the files for easy access to the key data…”

The New York Times – In the winter, feeding the birds enlivens a garden like nothing else. Here’s how to make the most of peak bird-feeding season. “…First: It’s important to understand that a seed- or suet-filled feeder provides supplementary food, and is not a substitute for the best all-season feeding plan — creating a landscape that supports birds. Many people offer that supplement year-round, but there are crucial exceptions. In areas where black bear are resident, feeders are best stored during the bears’ active season. I feed when the coast is likely to be clear, from around Thanksgiving to sometime in March, with a risk on either cusp of bent poles and destroyed feeders.

If you haven’t fed birds before, or want to fine-tune your offerings, Project FeederWatch at the Cornell Lab has a chart of the food preferences of 100 bird species that can be filtered by food type for your region…”


China set to keep up 5% growth through 2035, Xi adviser says Nikkei Asian Review