Monday, October 23, 2017

Buying citizenship with the secret currency

Broke is a temporary condition, poor is a state of mind.
 — Richard Francis Burton, who died in 1890
      Heather Field, A Taxonomy of Tax Loopholes, 55 Houston L. Rev. (forthcoming 2018), available at SSRN.
      One of the many obstacles in the way of productive governance these days is people talking past each other. In the tax context, for instance, everyone seems to agree that we need to “simplify” the tax system and eliminate “tax loopholes.” But, people with very different agendas mean very different things when they use these loaded terms. And using the loaded terms, without elaboration, interferes with our ability to engage in serious policy conversations.
      In A Taxonomy for Tax LoopholesHeather Field identifies this phenomenon and attempts to push us beyond the “tax loophole” rhetoric. She explores the different ways that the term “tax loophole” is used, provides a framework that is designed to promote more transparent substantive debate, and uses her framework to bring greater clarity to contemporary debates about specific tax issues. While, as Field acknowledges, the term “tax loophole” is not going away any time soon, her approach nonetheless brings refreshing incisiveness to a discourse that is too often clouded by meaningless labels. Continue reading "Beyond the “Tax Loophole” Rhetoric"
      Hutt River Province leaders fail in court appeal against $3 million tax ...

      Buying citizenship with the secret currency

      The tiny pacific nation of Vanuatu has developed an interesting twist on the practice of selling citizenship. The tax haven nation is offering people to become citizens for just 42 Bitcoins! Ok with the current Bitcoin bubble 42 Bitcoins isn’t that cheap – it is the equivalent of around $236,000.
      The sale of citizenship by tax havens has been of concern to anti-corruption campaigners for some time. The worry is that individuals can use citizenship to flee corruption investigations or other criminal proceedings back home. As Global Witness put it: “After all, if the passport makes you a citizen of a country that has a non-extradition treaty with your country and enjoys strong rule of law you can sleep safe and sound in your luxury home.”
      The use of Bitcoin creates an extra layer of murkiness for the Vanuatu scheme. Bitcoin is an anonymous, online currency. Unlike any other form of online transfer of money (e.g. a bank transfer), transactions in Bitcoin are entirely anonymous. It is the online version of handing someone cash, no record of where the money comes from, no record of the transaction. See no evil, hear no evil

      Panama Papers continue to make waves in South America

      The long tail of the Panama Papers continues to impact politics in South America. In Argentina the Panama Papers have become an election issue after it has been alleged that the country’s former president, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, stashed ‘dirty money’ in Miami.

      The claim was made by Argentina’s top anti-corruption prosecutor, Laura Alonso, and comes in advance of elections where de Kirchner is running for the Senate. Alonso’s office refused to answer any questions on her claim, saying she could not comment on an ongoing investigation, despite announcing her allegation on national TV.

      De Kirchner denies the allegations.
      In Bolivia the government has recently introduced a new anti-tax haven bill. There is little detail on the proposals, but the government commitment to take action came after a report on the the Panama Papers in Bolivia

      Swiss must do more to fight tax avoidance and money laundering

      Switzerland has been told it must do more to fight corruption and tax avoidance by a UN expert on foreign debt and human rights. Following a visit to the country, Juan Pablo Bohoslavsky highlighted how Swiss banks had been used for the Petrobras corruption scandal and in suspicious cash flows linked to the Malaysian sovereign wealth fund 1MDB. Mr Bohoslavsky said: “It is especially troubling that these events are not from years ago – the money was still being accepted until quite recently”.
      The UN expert did not just restrict his remarks to money laundering, also criticising the country for a corporate tax regime that encourages profit shifting by multinational companies, removing money untaxed from foreign subsidiaries in the developing world and holding back economic development.

      The new Dutch government is to announce that it willRead the full article... The post The Dutch government cuts its corporate tax rate… appeared first on Tax Justice Network.

      Factsheet: What are the Gender Dimensions of IFFs? African Women’s Development and Communication Network (FEMNET)

      Why the World Bank won’t end inequality New Internationalist
      ‘The World Bank claims to be fighting inequality. But the evidence suggests otherwise’, says Lidy Nacpil, co-founder of the Fight Inequality Alliance

      U.S. Corporate Tax Shake-Up Could Fuel Tension With Allies The New York Times
      ‘Yet it could turn out that the European crackdown on American multinationals will ultimately help — rather than hobble — Washington’s efforts to get them to pay up. The harder that other countries make it for American companies to take advantage of tax havens and sweetheart deals abroad, the weaker the incentives are for businesses to stash money out of the reach of the Internal Revenue Service.’

      To stop losing mining revenues, dig the details Oxfam: the Politics of Poverty ‘How detecting and deterring “transfer mispricing” in Zambia’s billion dollar mining sector can boost government coffers in a time of fiscal crisis.’ See also: Extract-A-Fact, a Project of Publish What You Pay – United States

      Think tax is gender neutral? Think again International Politics and Society

      How North Korea Uses Front Companies to Help Evade Sanctions PBS Frontline Shell companies in BVI, Hong Kong, Seychelles, UK …

      Irish tax break scheme ‘will attract top talent from Britain after Brexit’ The Guardian ‘controversial scheme for high earners, which critics have labelled a bribe for foreign bankers and investors’

      Amazon’s prime tax deal: Luxembourg offered online retailer massive unfair discount Oxfam International