Members Highlights

Here is where members update one another with their latest news and campaigns.

The Taxi Industry has Just What it Deserves

Section: Members Highlights / WTA Blog
11 December 2015 | Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance / Australia

Australia

The Daily Telegraph, Australia

The Taxi Industry has Just What it Deserves

by Tim Andrews

WHEN the first automobile hit the streets of Sydney, investors in horse and carriage companies didn’t get a penny in compensation.

Australia embraced the car and has led the world in embracing all new technologies, whether they be digital cameras, smartphones, or digital downloads. Obsolete industries from camera-film sellers and typewriter salesmen to BetaMax video store owners were never bailed out by the NSW taxpayer.

So why is it that today, with the ­introduction of Uber, Airbnb, Freelancer, Airtasker, and other new technologies making our lives easier, politicians want to tax us to bail out obsolete technologies?

The taxi industry is no different to the hundreds of other businesses faced with the inevitable task of adapting or risking something new and better coming along.

This is an industry characterised by bad service, exorbitant prices, and a complete lack of care for consumers. We have all been in dirty cabs with rude drivers who insist on taking the “scenic” route, ripping us off — and then demanding an extra 10 per cent just to use a credit card.

Now that technology has given us an alternative, with safe, clean, reviewed, and GPS-tracked UBER, the rivers of gold that the cab monopoly has received from gouging NSW consumers is drying up. Have they tried to improve? Have they tried to provide better services? No, they have simply tried to get the government to ban their competition, and continue their closed shop monopoly.

It’s expected that within weeks the NSW government will finally give in to public pressure and announce it will legalise Uber. And about time. But they are also considering imposing a supertax on us, the consumer, just to pay off Cabcharge.

Up to 1000 taxi plates in NSW are controlled by Cabcharge, a multi-million dollar corporation that the Federal Court and Australian Competition and Consumer Commission found guilty of gouging consumers. They were fined $14 million just a few years ago for unethical practices.

Yet the NSW government is seriously considering a new supertax, paid for by us, to bail them out.

We are going to pay a new tax to give money to these people. It seems the only thing Cabcharge can do well is pay for great lobbyists.

If I made a huge loss on the stock market with a bad investment I wouldn’t go running to the government for a bailout. Why is the government even considering bailing out investors in the failing taxi industry? When Kodak went bust the shareholders didn’t get a handout from the taxpayer. Nobody compensated BetaMax shareholders for ­investing in a less popular product. Nobody gave Sony a taxpayer ­funded handout when Walkmans ­became a thing of the past.

The answer to the challenges of new disruptive technology should not be to ask taxpayers to fork out their hard-earned cash to compensate the industries that have failed to keep up. The answer is to let the market do what it does best.

Consumers have been penalised by the taxi industry for decades. The NSW public shouldn’t foot the bill for an industry’s failure to innovate. Any tax on either the consumer or a new market entrant like Uber, just to pay out corporations who have failed to provide a good service, is not just bad economics. It’s downright immoral.

Tim Andrews is executive director of the Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance.

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The OECD Threatens Ireland’s Low Corporate Tax Success

Section: Members Highlights / WTA Blog
4 December 2015 | Hibernian Forum / Ireland

Ireland

The OECD Threatens Ireland’s Low Corporate Tax Success

Eamon DelaneyCampaign, info, web

obama pint

By Cormac Lucey, in The Times, digital edition, 20 November 2015

Repeating this statement does nothing to dilute its impact or its importance: Ireland would be unrecognisable without foreign direct investment. Not only do we depend on mainly American-owned companies for a considerable portion of our jobs, incomes and tax revenues, but the modernising impact of those companies has transformed our society.

Remember when, back in the 1950s, Ireland was a sort of Catholic version of North Korea with open borders — up to a third of people born here used to flee the country. That changed towards the end of that decade, when the tax law was transformed to free export profits from corporation tax. Over the years that tax break has morphed into today’s 12.5 per cent corporation rate, but one thing that hasn’t changed is the big “welcome” mat that Ireland puts at the front door when foreign multinationals come knocking.

A recent report from the American Chamber of Commerce Ireland highlighted some of the key benefits that we derive from this strategy. American companies have invested $277 billion in Ireland since 1990; the comparable figure for Brazil is $92 billion; for Russia it’s $10 billion and in China it’s $51 billion.

American direct investment stock in Ireland totalled a record $240 billion in 2013, a greater investment stake than Germany and France combined ($196 billion). Total US investment in Europe in the first nine months of last year was $115 billion, 19 per cent lower than the same period in 2013, but American flows to Ireland surged nearly 42 per cent to $37 billion. Companies from the US spend €13 billion on pay, goods and services in Ireland. Last, but not least, they contribute €3 billion to the Irish Exchequer in taxes each year. And that figure looks like it’s rising fast.

Germany and France have long criticised our low corporation tax rate as representing unfair competition. And the most powerful man in the world is also on our case. President Obama has slammed American companies that “magically become Irish” to avoid paying taxes in the US and criticised the “inversion” system, in which a large US company may acquire a smaller company domiciled in Ireland and arrange for the larger, merged, entity to pay the lower tax rate.

Mr Obama also called US multinationals who register in Ireland “corporate deserters” and said that because citizens don’t choose their tax rates, neither should companies. So the top item on the agenda of the G8 summit in Fermanagh in 2013 was a commitment “to fight the scourge of tax evasion”.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) was asked to come up with proposals on base erosion and profit shifting, or BEPS. This refers to the effect of multinational companies shifting profits to low-tax states through the use of transfer pricing. Multinationals based in Ireland are frequently accused of practising this.

Now, the OECD is dutifully presenting the first results of its work. From an Irish perspective, the easiest way to judge its potential impact is by looking at the OECD’s three main headings: substance, coherence and transparency.

Under the substance heading, the OECD aims to align corporate taxes with real-value generating activity. Here the transfer prices that multinationals use to invoice sales from their Irish subsidiary to other subsidiaries are crucial. This could damage multinational units producing in Ireland if it can be established that they are using transfer prices to shift profits from high-tax jurisdictions to low-tax Ireland. Furthermore, the OECD plans to close down aggressive tax structures which use “Caribbean cash box” companies as holding locations for intellectual property.

The problem for the organisation is that multinationals located in Ireland generally have commercial substance. Peter Reilly, of the accountants PwC, even suggests that as sustaining very low corporate tax rates becomes increasingly difficult, Ireland’s 12.5 per cent rate may appear even more attractive.

The OECD’s examination of coherence looks at areas such as interest deductions, taxation of foreign subsidiaries and scenarios that lead to anomalous outcomes — a company that isn’t tax resident in any country. The main risk to Ireland is that other tax jurisdictions may change their domestic rules and thereby weaken the country’s appeal as an investment destination, but it remains to be seen what — if anything — happens under this heading.

Transparency is the main area in which the OECD can claim progress. There is to be an automatic exchange of tax rulings between member states that will hinder the scope for aggressive tax planning.

This will also involve the introduction of country-by-country reporting: all multinationals with revenues greater than €750 million will be required to disclose global revenue and expense data by country. This may expose how they use transfer pricing to shift profits from high-tax countries to good, old low-tax Ireland. It may not have any immediate impact, but could trigger adverse knock-on effects.

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On balance, however, BEPS doesn’t yet seem to be an existential challenge. This is why The Economist dubbed the BEPS project “an opportunity lost” and complained that “in some of the most important areas, such as grappling with how to tax cross-border online sales, cans have been kicked down the road”.

Britain has reduced its corporation tax rate to 20 per cent and said that this will fall to 19 per cent in 2017 and 18 per cent in 2020. This week it was announced that Northern Ireland will also adopt a 12.5 per cent rate. They appear to have passed their own judgment on the threat posed to Ireland by BEPS by concluding that “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em”.

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WTA Letter from the Chairman – November 2015

Section: Members Highlights
20 November 2015 | Hibernian Forum / Ireland

Ireland

Letter from the Chairman, no 15
Stockholm November 20th, 2015

Dear members and friends of the World Taxpayers Associations!

Terror against freedom. The Islamic State (IS) has demonstrated that they have the will and resources to take their terror and aggression around the world. The confirmed blow up of the Russian plane with 244 tourists, the attack in Beirut which killed 34 and now the coordinated attacks in Paris which in the end may have killed more than 130 innocent people. In total, last year over 30,000 people were killed in terrorist attacks, most in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. Police – and military – around Europe are given special resources and permissions to search and question suspects.

Politicians in Europe and President Obama do not understand the religiously based drive. What is the road ahead? Many want more control – will it threaten the freedom we cherish? Europe has been slow to react to the threats, but now borders are closing and the EU is threatening to again become more divided between states. The attitude towards the continuing stream of migrants is vastly differing. Sweden is still getting over 10,000 per week. Plus many just going underground without registering, though this flow has slowed with increased control. Other countries – including the US – are offering to take per year what Sweden is getting per week! Germany is looking at over 1 million new migrants this year alone.

The world is quickly changing. The UN is trying to create more of a worldwide regime with international taxation and amassing big funds for “climate investments” in the so called third world. The climate issue has been strongly and cleverly used for political and economic purposes. It is not so much about science – where experts differ – but about money and power.

The road ahead must mean a defence of freedom – down to the school yard. A spirit of suspicion and fear should not prevail. A recent report in Britain says that over half of 11 year-olds have problems sleeping because of fear of climate change. They should be rejoicing in the fantastic possibilities they have ahead – and in how our world has been able to adapt with more freedom, greater wealth and resources, more food and higher possibilities for all. Each generation has to find and defend their own freedom, ask their own question about the future and set their own goals. There lies the road ahead. And doing it across any borders of race, religion, social class, wealth or politics. In the long run freedom will win. It always has. In the mean time our national resources must join in a fair and open way to work for peace and isolate those who think they have a right to destroy the lives of others.

World Taxpayers Conference 2016

Now is the time to plan and book your participation at the WTA Conference in Berlin March 17-20th next year!

Key stakeholders and globally acclaimed experts will discuss a wide range of important aspects of economic growth and growth of freedom and democracy. You will have a unique chance to meet with likeminded persons from all parts of the world, to learn and be inspired and build relations of future importance for your organization.

We promise you an exciting and very useful program. Our German hosts are doing their best to add also points of social and general interest. The welcome reception in a unique location a dinner combined with a Berlin-style variety show and a gala dinner with a special speaker.

The conference will combine with three other events on the 16th and 17th March 2016:

The Taxpayers Leaders Forum, initiated by Americans for Tax Reform, and it will be a chance to share and learn from others experiences. This will take place in the afternoon of Wednesday March 16th and in the morning of March 17th.

The Free Market Road Show – a high-level discussion of economic issues and how enterprises and economic growth can be stimulated. Time: The morning of March 17th.

The European Resource Bank meeting. This is a meeting of more business oriented think tanks across Europe and we will share the main meetings on Friday and they will add other seminars and workshops on Saturday.

These combinations means a large and varied conference with an expected 250 participants, so write us about your interest soon.

WTA and National Taxpayers Union in the US will be offering some scholarships for those with special needs, so write us of your interest even if you are uncertain about the expense. And if you need a visa to Germany, it is urgent that you contact us about that immediately, so it can be arranged. It may take some time considering the pressure on these authorities.

A special web page will be active soon also with payment routines for the conference fee. On the WTA website you will find information under http://worldtaxpayers.org/conferences-events/news-and-details-of-upcoming-events/.

Member activities
Our network keeps growing. We now have seven active organizations in Africa. Some of them are working under difficult circumstances. We also have new groups starting up in Asia and South America. We want to give them all the encouragement, advice and support we can.

We are very encouraged by the National Taxpayers Association (NTA) in Kenya. They are a well established group since ten years. Visit their web page describing their many activities under www.nta.or.ke It is in English.

Content marketing
Content marketing is a popular term these days. In its simplest sense it means that we have to know our stuff – to stand on our know-how of taxes, how they hit different groups, create difficulties for start up businesses or whatever the issue is. In Sweden the Taxpayers Organization has published a small pocketbook with Facts for Taxpayers for 49 years! In 36 overviews on 48 pages they give all the key facts about not only taxes, but other economic facts like international comparisons. You might find interesting ideas here – even if it is in Swedish! You can down load the report here: http://www.skattebetalarna.se/nyheter/fakta-skattebetalare-2015
We will be happy to translate details for you!

In Ghana the Taxpayers’ Alliance has made an extensive comment to the national budget for 2016. You find comments on the news page Modern Ghana here: https://www.modernghana.com/news/655609/1/tax-payers-alliance-on-2016-budget.html

In Britain, the TaxPayers’ Alliance made a “telephone catalogue” size report detailing what might be needed to balance the budget in connection with the latest election. Even the summary was book size!

They are currently getting great media coverage and political reaction based on their “Public Sector Rich List” listing public employees earning more than £100,000 per year. Many reactions on this. Here is an example from one newspaper: http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/debate/columnists/jonathan-isaby-freedom-of-information-is-a-weapon-against-town-hall-waste-1-7568559

Suggested reading

In my readings, I often find interesting comments from John Mauldin. In his latest letter he adds a long analysis by George Friedman – of Europe, migration and the terrorist threat. I am adding it as a pdf at the end of the letter for those of you who want to get more in depth comments on the current situation and where we are heading. You can also find newsletter and previous ones directly on this link: http://www.mauldineconomics.com/outsidethebox/archive

Do write to me or Sarah with any questions on the conference or with questions how we might help you in your efforts. We want you to benefit from our exciting network and its wealth of experience and connections!

Best wishes,

Staffan

Staffan Wennberg

Chairman World Taxpayers Associations

staffan.wennberg@worldtaxpayers.org

Phone+ 46 708 15 04 95

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Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance: 3rd Australian Libertarian Society Friedman Conference

Section: Members Highlights
24 September 2015 | Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance / Australia

Australia

On 2-3 May 2015 – The Australian Libertarian Society and the Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance worked together to throw their 3rd annual conference in honor of the late, great Nobel-winning economist, Milton Friedman. This is a great idea to have an event around and to educate people on free market economics.

 

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National Taxpayers Union (USA) – Congress Keep the 2011 Budget Control Act

Section: Members Highlights / WTA Blog
24 September 2015 | National Taxpayers Union (NTU) / United States

United States

The U.S. Budget Control Act Caps Saved Nearly $9,000 Per Household

by Michael Tasselmyer

As Congress faces a looming deadline on funding for the federal government, some legislators are calling for a repeal of the spending caps imposed under the Budget Control Act of 2011.

Undoing those restrictions on discretionary spending would almost certainly result in larger deficits and deeper debt. For some perspective, the table below compares actual federal spending since 2011 alongside the levels proposed by the White House just before the caps were put in place. (Note: dollar amounts are in billions and figures for the President’s budget reflect CBO’s March 2011 analysis.)

Year Total Outlays President’s March 2011 Budget Savings
2011 $3,603 $3,655 -$52
2012 $3,537 $3,708 -$171
2013 $3,455 $3,800 -$345
2014 $3,506 $3,976 -$470
Total -$1,308

That means that federal spending was reduced by over $1.3 trillion compared to what the Administration had proposed just before the caps were enacted.

To put it another way, spending was reduced by $3,256 per person and $8,980 per household. Federal deficits have been lower than they’d otherwise be by over $703 billion, roughly $2,206 per person and $6,083 per household 

That not only represents a very significant spending cut, but one that has been sustained over time.

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Deceptive Temperature Record Claims

Section: Members Highlights
28 August 2015 | Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) / Canada

Canada
http://s3.amazonaws.com/wuaala/page/5663998322147328/washingtontimes.jpg
Deceptive temperature record claims
Warmest month announcements have no scientific basis
The Washington Times, 15-08-23. By Tom Harris.
The U.S. government is at it again, hyping meaningless records in a parameter that does not exist in order to frighten us about something that doesn’t matter.
NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced this week that according to their calculations, July 2015 was the hottest month since instrumental records began in 1880. NOAA says that the record was set by eight one-hundredths of a degree Celsius over that set in July 1998. NASA calculates that July 2015 beat what they assert was the previous warmest month (July 2011) by two one-hundredths of a degree.
But government spokespeople rarely mention the inconvenient fact that these records are being set by less than the uncertainty in the statistics. NOAA claims an uncertainty of 14 one-hundredths of a degree in its temperature averages, or near twice the amount by which they say the record was set. NASA says that their data is typically accurate to one tenth of a degree, five times the amount by which their new record was set.
So, the new temperature records are meaningless. Neither agency knows whether a record was set.
Such misrepresentations are now commonplace in NOAA and NASA announcements. They are regularly proclaiming monthly and yearly records set by less than the uncertainties in the measurements. Scientists within the agencies know that this is dishonest.
They also know that calculating so-called global average temperatures to hundredths of a degree is irrational. After all, there is very little data for the 70 percent of Earth’s surface that is ocean. There is also little data for mountainous and desert regions, not to mention the Antarctic.
Much of the coverage is so sparse that NASA is forced to make the ridiculous claim that regions are adequately covered if there is a temperature-sensing station within nearly 750 miles. This is the distance between Ottawa, Canada, and Myrtle Beach, S.C. cities with very different climates. Yet, according to NASA, only one temperature sensing station is necessary for the two cities and the vast area between them to be adequately represented in their network.
In the final analysis, it is no more meaningful to calculate an average temperature for a whole planet than it is to calculate the average telephone number in the Washington D.C. phone book. Temperature, like viscosity and density, and of course phone numbers, is not something that can be meaningfully averaged. “Global temperature” does not exist.
In their award winning book, “Taken By Storm” (2007), Canadian researchers Christopher Essex and Ross McKitrick explain: “Temperature is not an amount of something [like height or weight]. It is a number that represents the condition of a physical system. In thermodynamics it is known as an intensive quantity, in contrast to quantities like energy, which have an additive property, which we call extensive in thermodynamics.”
Even if enough accurate surface temperature measurements existed to ensure reasonable planetary coverage (it doesn’t) and to calculate some sort of global temperature statistic, interpreting its significance would be challenging. What averaging rule would you use to handle the data from thousands of temperature-sensing stations? Mean, mode, median, root mean square?
Science does not tell us. For some groups of close temperature measures (and NASA and NOAA are dealing with thousands of very close temperatures), one method of calculating an average can lead to a determination of warming while another can lead to a conclusion of cooling.
Even if you could calculate some sort of meaningful global temperature statistic, the figure would be unimportant. No one and nothing would experience it directly since we all live in regions, not the globe. There is no super-sized being straddling the planet, feeling global averages in temperature. Global warming does not matter.
Future generations are bound to ask why America closed its coal-fueled generating stations, its cheapest, most plentiful source of electric power, and wasted billions of dollars trying to stop insignificant changes in imaginary phenomena.
The sad answer will be that it had nothing to do with the realities of science, technology or economics. The tragic blunder is based on satisfying political expedience for a privileged few, egged on by vested financial interests, and supported by largely uninformed activists granted the media platforms needed to sway public opinion. As Jay Lehr, science director of the Chicago-based Heartland Institute said, “It is a scam that dwarfs all others that have come before.”
Tom Harris is executive director of the Ottawa, Canada-based International Climate Science Coalition.
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The USA’s Taxpayers Protection Alliance & Australian TPA Working Together

Section: Members Highlights
28 August 2015 | Taxpayers Protection Alliance / United States

United States

This collaboration between the US group, Taxpayers Protection Alliance, and the Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance, is a perfect example of how the WTA can be helpful to global taxpayer protection movement.  Building relationships, sharing ideas, and helping one another fight against global threats to the taxpayer.

The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) has been sounding the alarm on various attempts by governments around the globe to institute plain packaging policies for tobacco. Australia was the first country to pass legislation mandating plain packaging of tobacco and after just a few years, the impact has been exactly what TPA warned they would be: greater tobacco consumption, increased illicit trade, and loss of revenue. Last week, the following submission was made to the Australian Parliament for public comments regarding the plain packaging laws. You can also download the full submission by clicking here.

I wanted to thank Tim Andrews for alerting us to this opportunity.  In my opinion, this is exactly the type pf coordination groups from around the world need to do more of.

If you submitted comments, please feel free to share with the group.

-David

David Williams

President

Taxpayers Protection Alliance

www.protectingtaxpayers.org

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TPA Ghana Protesting an Unnecessary Toll Hike

Section: Members Highlights / WTA Blog
28 August 2015 | Taxpayers’ Alliance Ghana / Ghana

Ghana

Read here how the Ghanaian government has misused road construction funds, and are now issuing a tax hike in the form of a toll.  The TPA Ghana is calling them out on this dishonest practice.

http://news.peacefmonline.com/pages/news/201508/252191.php

The Taxpayers’ Alliance Ghana said they are “opposed to any form of increase in taxes and levies considering the economic hardships that the Ghanaian taxpayer is going through, the high cost of doing business coupled with the current energy crisis.”

Mr. Bekoe charged government to render an account to Parliament on the usage of the road fund before thinking of burdening the taxpayer with increments.

 

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WTA & German Taxpayers Assoc. Meet with the UK’s TPA

Section: Members Highlights / WTA Blog
28 August 2015 | Bund der Steuerzahler Bayern / Germany

Germany

This week, Michael Jaeger & Daniel Junker of the German Taxpayers Association met with Sarah Elliott and Staffan Wennberg in London to plan for the upcoming biennial WTA Conference in Berlin on the 18-19th March 2016. It was a productive meeting, as speakers and panels were ironed out and ideas shared. While in London, they met with the UK’s Jonathan Isaby, CEO of the TaxPayers’ Alliance (TPA).  Michael and Daniel got to see the offices of the TPA, and meet some of the staff too . Should any of you come through London, do please contact Jonathan and check out the TPA!

 

TPAGermanTPAWTA Staffan and Jonathan

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