Friday, November 13, 2020

Trump's Black Friday - Three years after Paradise Papers, giant paper company is back in the headlines


Stephen Colbert on Trump: 'There’s no reasoning with him at this point'

Biden moves forward as top Democrats blast Republican post-election 'shenanigans'

With Donald Trump gone, Brexit Britain will be very lonely on the world stage

Republicans are lying. Trump has no right to the chaos he’s causing.

Biden-Harris Transition: “Agency review teams are responsible for understanding the operations of each agency, ensuring a smooth transfer of power, and preparing for President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris and their cabinet to hit the ground running on Day One. These teams are composed of highly experienced and talented professionals with deep backgrounds in crucial policy areas across the federal government. The teams have been crafted to ensure they not only reflect the values and priorities of the incoming administration, but reflect the diversity of perspectives crucial for addressing America’s most urgent and complex challenges. The Presidential Transition Act requires presidential transitions to disclose the “most recent employment” and “sources of funding” for all agency review team members. The Transition Team has three types of agency review team members:

  • Volunteers: Individuals who are volunteering for the Transition in their personal capacity. For these team members, their current or most recent employer is listed (for informational purposes only), and their source of funding is listed as “Volunteer.”
  • Full-Time Transition Employees: Individuals who are full-time paid Transition employees, funded by the Transition entity itself (PT Fund, Inc.). For these team members, their most recent employer prior to joining the Transition is listed (for informational purposes only), and their source of funding is listed as “Transition — PT Fund, Inc.”
  • Detailees: Individuals on detail who will be funded through an appropriation administered by the General Services Administration. For these team members, their current employer is listed, and their source of funding is listed as “Transition — Appropriation.”..

TPB called to rethink expansion of tax financial adviser

The Tax Practitioners Board has been told to slow its plans down to expand the remit of tax financial advisers.

Professional Development Jotham Lian 12 November 2020

The regulator had earlier issued a draft legislative instrument proposing to expand tax (financial) advice services, including allowing such advisers to apply for tax file numbers, represent an entity in their dealings with the Commissioner of Taxation and the ATO, and apply for an ABN in the establishment of an SMSF.

A joint submission by Chartered Accountants Australia New Zealand, CPA Australia, the Institute of Public Accountants, the Financial Planners Association, and the SMSF Association has now put a damper on the TPB’s plans, urging for further discussions before the proposal is finalised.

While recognising that clients often rely on tax (financial) advisers to manage the administration and compliance of their financial affairs, the joint bodies note that such advisers have not been able to interact with the ATO to date and that the plans would mark a significant shift from the status quo.

The TPB has been told that representing clients in relation to tax reviews, audits, disputes and objections should remain in the realm of tax agents because of the legislative complexity and administrative knowledge required to deal with such issues.

Instead, the joint bodies believe tax (financial) advisers should only have read-only access to a client’s ATO superannuation accounts via Online Services for Agents.


“There’s a sense of danger,” a local teenager told ICIJ reporter Scilla Alecci, as they surveyed burnt-out fields in the heart of Indonesia’s logging country during a 2017 reporting trip.

Scilla had travelled to Padang in Indonesia as part of ICIJ’s Paradise Papers investigation to see the destruction wrought as lush peatland forests were cleared to make way for palm oil and pulp plantations. The teenager, who lived in a village nearby, pointed to the charred remains of sago palm trees. “The effects of forest burning and deforestation are enormous” for both humans and animals, he told Scilla.

Scilla’s story would reveal the pivotal role played by lawyers and bankers supporting the expansion of one of the world’s largest pulp and paper producers, APRIL, despite the company’s poor environmental record and social conflicts.

Three years later, on the anniversary of the Paradise Papers, the company is back in the headlines, with a new report by the Tax Justice Forum accusing APRIL of misreporting its exports while shifting profits offshore to avoid taxes in Indonesia. APRIL has denied wrongdoing.

One of the authors of the report told Scilla that Indonesia’s failure to properly tax pulp trade was hurting the government’s ability to provide for its people. "That's money that could have gone to education, or health, or development, public investment in some way. And now it’s not going there.”

The United States Treasury Department is putting art galleries and museums on notice over the high risks of financial crime in their trade, warning that various aspects of the art industry makes “it attractive to those engaged in illicit financial activity, including sanctions evasion.”

From Morocco to Jordan, journalists across North Africa and the Middle East explored secretive reports that detailed billions of dollars in potentially suspicious transactions to and from the region’s most powerful companies and government institutions.