Thursday, October 12, 2017

As the world falls apart around us: Apologies I misread your irony

Here are some sad songs to go along with our sad times

Richard Thaler, the Economist Who Realized How Crazy MEdia Dragons Are ...

Why We Have a Silent B: The kind of silly reason "doubt" and "debt" have a "b" before their "t"s.

How UBS Became Home to Half the World’s BillionairesBloomberg. Interview with UBS CEO. “[BLOOMBERG MARKETS] You’re like Tinder? [SERGIO ERMOTTI] At these events we are a kind of sophisticated speed-­dating organizer, sure. It adds value for our clients.”

Accenture's crucial data exposed

Chinese buyers set to keep underpinning Australian home prices: analysts

Almost one in four new homes in NSW is being snapped up by a Chinese buyer, according to Credit Suisse analysis of NSW Revenue figures, obtained under a Freedom of Information request.

People do the strangest things.

'German James Bond': ex-spy Werner Mauss guilty of tax evasion

Exorcism excise: US psychic pleads guilty to $3.5 million tax evasion

New York Times, In Targeting Political Groups, I.R.S. Crossed Party Lines:
A federal watchdog investigating whether the Internal Revenue Service unfairly targeted conservative political groups seeking tax-exempt status said that the agency also scrutinized organizations associated with liberal causes from 2004 to 2013.

Christ in the Garden of Endless Breadsticks Eater. Really fun, and makes you wonder if “brands” really understand their own brands

Does stress decline after age 50?

 Ototoxicity.  Are we entering a new age of biowarfare?

Crossroads, our former church in Cincinnati, has been named the fastest growing church and the fourth largest church in America.  Bloomberg Businessweek had a a fascinating article about the church a few months ago, What Would Jesus Disrupt?:

What Will Replace Outdated Left and Right Economic Thinking? The Commons Paradigm

Why the commons paradigm offers an important and practical lens for re-imagining politics, governance and law

Noel Brock (Eastern Michigan), Edward Schnee (Alabama) & Shane Stinson (Alabama), The Corporate Response to Government Attacks on Tax Shelters, 8 Int'l J. Fin. Res. (2017):

We examine the effectiveness of four federal government actions, all of which were designed to curb the proliferation of corporate tax shelters dating back to the 1990s, at eliciting measurable changes in characteristics commonly associated with tax shelter firms. Our results suggest that the government’s initial attacks on corporate tax shelters in the early 2000s elicited significant declines in book-tax differences, discretionary accruals, and the use of Big N audit firms, which contributed to gradual reductions in the estimated likelihood of tax sheltering for both multinational and purely domestic firms. Conversely, later attempts to discourage corporate tax shelters proved ineffective, likely due in part to the effectiveness of previous government attacks and a faltering economy.

The IRS will pay Equifax $7.25 million to verify taxpayer identities and help prevent fraud under a no-bid contract issued last week, even as lawmakers lash the embattled company about a massive security breach that exposed personal information of as many as 145.5 million Americans.

contract award for Equifax's data services was posted to the Federal Business Opportunities database Sept. 30 — the final day of the fiscal year. The credit agency will "verify taxpayer identity" and "assist in ongoing identity verification and validations" at the IRS, according to the award. ...

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle blasted the IRS decision.

As the world falls apart around us, there's no better time to imagine a group of teenagers whose only commitment is to hack the planet. 
Introducing "Extremely My Shit," a video series where people talk about what they love. First up: Jeff Ihaza on the movie ‘Hackers.’

Dr Castagna, 70, has been the target of two of Nuix's major clients: the Australian Federal police and the Australian Tax Office through Project Wickenby, their long-running tax probe. The charges relate to payments from Macquarie Bank which were allegedly channelled into offshore companies controlled by his cousin Robert Agius, who was sentenced to a non-parole period of 6 years and 8 months' jail in 2012 for operating unrelated tax avoidance schemes via his Vanuatu-based accountancy firm.  In addition to Dr Castagna's criminal charges, the ATO is pursuing him for unpaid taxes and penalties in excess of $10 million. (Billbury ltd)  Cyber security company chief Dr Tony Castagna facing criminal charges

The Equifax breach shows the dystopian gap between wealth and competence in America


And from Motherboard: Algorithms helped get us into this gerrymandering mess. Can they get us out of it, too?

A new study details the wealth hidden in tax havens But even the new data are patchy and do not fully account for all wealth

The Economist
SWITZERLAND, which developed cross-border wealth-management in the 1920s, was once in a league of its own as a tax haven. Since the 1980s, however, tax-dodgers have been spoilt for choice: they can hide assets anywhere from the Bahamas to Hong Kong. The percentage of global wealth held offshore has increased dramatically. But it has been hard to say how much that is, and who owns it.
Few offshore centres used to disclose such data. But in 2016 many authorised the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) to make banking statistics publicly available. Using these data, a new study by Annette Alstadsaeter, Niels Johannesen and Gabriel Zucman, three economists, concludes that tax havens hoard wealth equivalent to about 10% of global GDP. This average masks big variations. Russian assets worth 50% of GDP are held offshore; countries such as Venezuela, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates climb into the 60-70% range. Britain and continental Europe come in at 15%, but Scandinavia at only a few per cent.
One conclusion is that high tax rates, like those in Denmark or Sweden, do not drive people offshore. Rather, higher offshore wealth is correlated with factors such as political and economic instability and an abundance of natural resources.
Proximity to Switzerland also remains a good indicator. But assets held there have declined since the financial..

ATO reveals six "far-fetched" excuses people have given for not lodging ...

ATO flags online sales tax crackdown The ATO is beefing up its data-matching capabilities with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection ahead of the government's contentious plan to impose GST on internet imports worth less than $1000 from July next year. The crackdown is flagged in a new submission to the Productivity Commission, which is inquiring into the model for collecting the 10 per cent GST on low-value imports....

Catholic Priest Gets Prison For Tax Evasion: Don't Lie To IRS

Governments see the risk of data sharing, now to explain the benefits.
Data de-identification is probably more complex than you think. A new guide to help public servants and others is a good step forward, but public engagement is underdone, says an expert on the legal side of data use and privacy.

Unfair ATO a dangerous threat to innovation

Presidential Transition: Information on Ethics, Funding, and Agency Services – GAO-17-615R: Published: Sep 7, 2017. Publicly Released: Oct 10, 2017 – “The change from one presidential administration to the next is a complex process requiring coordination among many parties, including the outgoing President, federal agencies, the President-elect, anda Transition Team. During a transition, the President-elect and his or her team decide upon more than 4,000 political appointments and prepare to manage the federal government, an entity with more than 4 million civilian employees and military personnel, and a budget of nearly $4 trillion.