WTA Letter from the Chairman – Autumn 2016

Section: Letter from the Chairman / Members Highlights / WTA Blog
18 October 2016

Autumn 2016
WTA members, observers and friends,

It was my great pleasure to attend the Liberty Forum put on by Atlas Network in Miami in September where I met with new UK TaxPayers Alliance Chief Executive John O’Connell; Marusa Pozvek of the Slovenia Taxpayers; Krunoslav Saric from Lipa in Croatia; Lorenzo Montanari from Americans for Tax Reform; Tim Andrews of Australian Taxpayers Alliance and for the first time Jose Beteta of Respect for Taxpayershttp://respeto.pe/ from Peru. Much work needs to be done developing taxpayer groups in central and South America so it was of particular interest to meet Jose. Congratulations to all of you on the great work you are doing!

Also in Miami was the opportunity to meet the heads of several think tanks from around the globe which we will add to our “friends” list and encourage the complimentary exchange advocacy groups popularizing and advancing the important work think tanks are doing.

Finally, I met with Shari Williams from the Krieble Foundation to update her on recent activities of WTA and thank the foundation for its support of WTA.

Tax Freedom Day and Tax Competition

In Miami, I had the opportunity to meet with Scott Hodge who is President of the Washington-DC based Tax Foundation. The Tax Foundation created Tax Freedom Day (TFD) which is now used by organizations around the world to illustrate the taxes paid by citizens in various countries.

I talked to Scott about collaborating on methodology for calculating TFD and maybe even a “World Tax Freedom Day” project both of which would be beneficial to WTA member and observer organizations.

Of more immediate interest, the Tax Foundation just released its 2016 International Tax Competitiveness Index. This Index ranks the 35 OECD nations on how competitive their tax systems are based on more than 40 variables—such as corporate taxes, individual taxes, consumption taxes and property taxes. By ranking countries, the Tax Foundation hopes to foster competition in ways that promote growth.

The Index can be a useful tool for WTA member and observer groups to push for reforms in your respective countries. It can be used as a roadmap for 1) identifying the worst aspects of a country’s tax system and 2) focusing lawmakers on which aspects of their tax systems they need to fix.

Scott uses Ireland as an example where he notes the country’s 12.5% corporate tax rate is commendable, but many other aspects of their tax system are very poorly structured—especially the individual tax code—so it does not rank as highly on the Index as the corporate rate might suggest. For the record, Estonia has the most competitive tax system and France the worst. Scott can be reached athodge@taxfoundation.org.


CitizenGo and the Austrian Economics Center are asking WTA European member and observer groups to sign their petition opposing the EU’s dangerous tax harmonization policy. The European Commission recently accused Ireland of giving “illegal tax benefits” to Apple. Now, they want Ireland to retroactively charge €13 billion to Apple due to this “unfair” treatment.

This ruling by the European Commission is extremely dangerous. Such an overreach by the EU’s antitrust regulator puts Ireland’s national sovereignty—and the sovereignty of all EU nations—under threat.

Ireland’s policy towards Apple was an intelligent use of tax competition. The European Commission should overturn this ruling and immediately abandon their dangerous and damaging tax harmonization policy. The Commission should respect the national sovereignty and economic freedom of all European nations. The
petition can be found here: http://www.citizengo.org/en/signit/37265/view

You can read the Hibernia Forum’s Eamon Delaney on the issue affecting Ireland here.

Taxpayer Protection Alliance’s Petition to the World Health Organization

David William’s of the Taxpayer Protection Alliance (TPA) is putting together a coalition letter he hopes all WTA member and observer organizations will sign. The letter is to the World Health Organization asking for fiscal responsibility, transparency and press freedom.

To sign the letter, please e-mail David Williams, president of the Taxpayer Protection Alliance: DavidWilliams@protectingtaxpayers.org. The letter must be signed before October 21st.

Youth Outreach and Debt Clock Tour in Canada

In 2013, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation founded Generation Screwed (en françaisGeneration Trompee), a campus-based initiative to inform and mobilize young Canadians to push back against government debts, unfunded liabilities and roadblocks to economic development that impede future opportunity and prosperity. This past September, recruitment booths were set-up on 27 campuses across the country. We believe in just three short years it has become the country’s largest pro-limited government student group in Canada. A similar group has been created in the UK (http://www.taxpayersalliance.com/the_taxpayers_alliance_at_liberty_league_s_freedom_forum). I encourage WTA member and observer groups to consider a similar initiative as an investment in the future of your organization and country. To learn more contact Aaron Gunn (agunn@taxpayer.com).

The CTF took its National Debt Clock across the country this past summer and also to 13 campuses in September where Generation Screwed coordinators organized student events.  A video can be seen here.  To learn more about creating your own rolling debt clock display contact Scott Hennig (shennig@taxpayer.com)

Lithuanian Free Market Institute’s Tax Calculator

The Lithuanian Free Market Institute (LFMI) has developed a great tool called the Tax Calculator, and they want to share it with you! The tax calculator can be found athttp://mokumokescius.lt/en/

Here’s how it works: one indicates the individual net wage income, the amount of income and social security contributions (and a breakdown of these), and then travels through personal expenditures to see what taxes are paid every time money is spent on different categories of goods or services. At the end, one receives a personal Tax Freedom Day as well as a personal bill from the government showing how the government spends your earnings.

LFMI can help other groups to replicate the tax calculator and even provide resources. LFMI has adapted the tax calculator for Poland http://sprawdzpodatki.pl. Institute of Economic and Social Studies (INESS) in Slovakia has created an app based on the concept and design. The Economic Institute Molinari is now working on a French version, the Bendukidze Free Market Center is developing it for Ukraine, and they are guiding a group in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Centre for Policy and Governance.

If you are interested in adapting this Tax Calculator to your country, please contact their Development & Programs Director, Aneta Vainė: aneta@freema.org. They are eager to help!

WTA in Germany’s Handelsblatt

Here is the multi-page edition of the World Taxpayers Conference 2016 featured in Germany’s widely-circulated and respected Handelsblatt with in-depth articles and photos. It was a great time had by all, and our most diverse conference to date! Look for photos of yourself and feel free to publish on your organization’s website handelsblatteventeditionmay2016

Upcoming Visits

I will be in New Zealand visiting WTA member organization the New Zealand Taxpayers Union on November 18th followed by a trip across the Tasman Sea November 25th to meet with both the Australian Taxpayers Alliance and Taxpayers Australia who will be hosting the next World Taxpayers Conference in Melbourne in 2019.

In closing I’d like to encourage you to please visit our website and our Facebook group. Our community is only as strong and as beneficial as we choose to make it. So please, work with our Secretary General Sarah Elliott to feed good content into our network!

Keep up the fight!

Troy Lanigan
Chair, World Taxpayers Associations
President, Canadian Taxpayers Federation

E-mail | troy.lanigan@worldtaxpayers.org
Skype | troy_lanigan