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The OECD Threatens Ireland’s Low Corporate Tax Success

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

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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International Property Rights Newsletter – December 4 2015, N. 39

Section: Taxpayer Leaders Forum / WTA Blog
4 December 2015 | International Property Rights Newsletter – December 4 2015, N. 39

International Property Rights Newsletter – December 4 2015, N. 39

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Please check the International Guidelines on Intellectual Property Rights supported by 85 Think Tanks


2015 International Property Rights Index officially launched

The Property Rights Alliance has officially launched the 2015 International Property Rights Index in Malaysia on November 16th.  Click here for the executive summary or visit the website here:

9th Annual IP Attaché Roundtable on December 15th, 2015

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Center (GIPC) will host the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) IP Attachés from around the world to discuss the protection and enforcement of IP rights outside of the United States. For more information & RSVP please click here

North America

President Obama Signs Bill Recognizing Asteroid Resource Property Rights into Law

On Thursday, President Obama signed the U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act into law, which grants companies the rights to whatever they manage to pluck out of these extraterrestrial bodies. The new Space Act of 2015 requires approval from the House of Representatives before moving on to President Obama. Meteorites – chunks that survive and fall to earth after asteroids disintegrate in the atmosphere – yield significant amounts of precious metals like platinum, rhodium, iridium, rhenium, osmium, ruthenium, palladium, germanium and gold. Continue Reading

Copyright Principles and Priorities to Foster a Creative Digital Marketplace

Over the course of the last two years, Congress has engaged in a comprehensive review of the Copyright Act. This is the first such review in nearly two generations, and it lays the groundwork for further inquiries and proposals regarding how the law might be amended and how the institution responsible for its administration—the U.S. Copyright Office— might be modernized and restructured to better support a thriving digital marketplace of unprecedented creativity and innovation. Continue Reading

Digital Ad Industry Will Gain $8.2 Billion By Eliminating Fraud And Flaws In Internet Supply Chain, IAB & EY Study Shows

Fraudulent impressions, infringed content, and malvertising cost the U.S. digital marketing, advertising, and media industry $8.2 billion annually. That money can be recouped if companies fix badly designed business processes and repair obvious flaws in the digital advertising supply chain, a new study by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and EY shows. Continue Reading


YouTube Seeks Streaming Rights to TV Shows, Movies

YouTube is seeking streaming rights to TV series and movies to bolster its new subscription service, intensifying its rivalry with Netflix Inc., Inc. and Hulu in the competitive market for online video. Continue Reading


NSA bulk phone surveillance program shutting down Sunday

The National Security Agency will no longer be allowed to collect phone metadata in bulk beginning Sunday, according to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. The controversial surveillance program was shut down under the USA Freedom Act, signed by President Obama in early June, and has been in a six-month transition period that ends Nov. 29. Continue Reading


Kobe Bryant’s company files for trademarks linked to his final season

Kobe Bryant has taken an even bigger step into the business world on the heels of his officially announced retirement. Bryant’s company, Kobe Inc., which was incorporated in California in 2013, has filed for various trademarks that are linked to his own marketing campaign for his final season. Continue Reading


Game Companies and Intellectual Property Rights

We have been asked many times what game companies can do to protect their games, assets and IP. This is the first of a series of blog posts aiming to answer that question. We will start from the most fundamental matters. Legal affairs are often seen as complicated and time consuming. This conception is understandable, and even relatively correct in some cases, but for game companies the most essential issues are actually quite straight forward. The most important legal matter is the management of intellectual property rights (IPR). Continue Reading


Why Silicon Valley is heading right

A couple of years ago New York Magazine did some work on the political orientation of Silicon Valley in which they reported the big news that some of the giants of the tech world were – shock! horror! – moving to the right, albeit very tentatively. The irony is that this should be newsworthy since the evidence of a rightward trend was so very paltry. Continue Reading


Library of Congress, Copyright Office butt heads over IT vision

The Library of Congress took a critical step in hiring a chief information officer in September, a senior Government Accountability Office official told lawmakers. But, he said, it’s still unclear whether Library of Congress’ newly minted tech exec has the power to sort out the digital woes plaguing the agency. “It remains to be seen whether this position will have clear responsibility and adequate authority to drive needed improvements,” said Joel Willemssen, GAO’s managing director for information technology. Continue Reading



To keep pace with the demands of the digital age, the U.S. Copyright Office needs fewer file clerks and more techies, Maria Pallante, the office’s director, told lawmakers on Wednesday. “It used to be catalogers, now it needs to be technology and data [experts],” Pallante described the agency’s hiring needs. “I don’t know how we can administer the law without it.” Continue Reading



Trademark reform in Italy: a shift in focus

In what is a significant shift, impending EU trademark reforms in Italy will allow parties to challenge granted trademarks on both relative and absolute grounds. Luigi Manna of Martini Manna Avvocati reports. Continue Reading


Building Value: The Role of Trademarks for Economic Development

Investment in brands drives the allocation of resources in our economy. It increases competition, pushes firms to innovate, and decreases asymmetries in the market leading to a higher level of economic development Investment in brands and intangibles has seen an increase in the last fifteen years, especially in advanced economies such as the EU and the US. The US is a pioneer when we talk about investment in brands, whereas the EU is still investing a higher share of GDP in tangible assets. Continue Reading


Copyright reform in Europe: getting EU copyright fit for the digital age

In May 2015, the European Commission put copyright reform as key part of the Digital Single Market strategy. techUK’s Laura Weidinger argues why it is essential that the forthcoming reforms, the first major update since 2001, gets the detail right to create a functioning copyright framework fit for the digital age. Continue Reading


New Administrative Rules for Well-Known Trademarks in Russia

On October 13, 2015, new administrative rules on declaring trademarks well known entered into force in Russia. The main change concerns the prescribed time limit for the Rospatent to determine whether a trademark is well known. Continue Reading


How does the opening of the ASEAN community relate to Bangkokians? : Suggestions for adaptation (3)

Considering the effects and opportunities that will be occurring as the country enters into the ASEAN Community in the year 2015 that I have explained in the previous article, Bangkokians need to prepare and accept the change. Important areas where Bangkokians need to be prepared for are as follows: Continue Reading


Mickey Mouse operations: China fines five fake ‘Disney hotels’ in Shanghai ahead of giant theme park opening

Shanghai has fined a hotel chain for infringing on Disney’s trademarks at five of its branches as part of an effort to protect the US entertainment giant’s brand in the run-up to the opening of its theme park next year. The five hotels owned by the Shenzhen Vienna Hotels Group in Pudong district, where the theme park is due to open in the first half of next year, were found to have used the Chinese characters for Disney on their signboards, websites and electronic displays in their lobbies without authorisation, the Shanghai regulators said. Continue Reading


China Vows To Protect US Firms

US-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) conference concluded with the commitment from both countries to protect the companies’ intellectual property (IP), minimize the trade theft, and provide them better legal protection. US Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker called the US-China JCCT “Meaningful”. Breakthroughs were expected at the meeting held in in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou. The three-day conference also addressed the issues like standards, IP, and geographical indications to prevent unauthorized content, sports broadcasting, and many more. Continue Reading


India names new head of IP office

Sh O P Gupta has taken over as controller general of patents, designs and trademarks in India. The former chairman and managing director of Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Co was installed as the head of the Indian Intellectual Property Office on 16 November. Continue Reading


Qualcomm Inks License Deal With China’s Xiaomi

Qualcomm Inc. said it reached a patent-licensing deal with Xiaomi Corp., one of China’s largest smartphone makers, a sign of progress in easing the chip maker’s struggles in the country. The San Diego-based company’s stock jumped 5.6% to $52.03 in afternoon trading on Wednesday in response to the announcement. Continue Reading


New national Intellectual Property Rights policy likely by December end: Amitabh Kant

The government is likely to come out with a new national Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) policy by the month-end, DIPP Secretary Amitabh Kant said on Thursday. The task force appointed by the government on the matter has already submitted its report, Kant said while speaking at a conference organised by Observer Research Foundation here. Continue Reading


Middle East

Israel freezes the EU out of peace talks with the Palestinians

Israel has frozen the EU out of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process in retaliation for Europe’s decision to label products made in West Bank settlements.Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, reacted furiously when the labelling decision was announced two weeks ago and on Sunday said he was suspending diplomatic contact with the EU on peace issues. Continue Reading



At WIPO, Former South Africa Judge Calls For Balance In IP Rights Enforcement

Alongside this week’s meeting of the World Intellectual Property Organization committee on enforcement, an event featured a former South African Supreme Court judge presenting his views on IP enforcement. There is a need to go for the “big fish,” he said, and to bring balance in sanctions and enforcement procedures. He also described courts as finding that exceptions to copyright are a public right. Continue Reading


Nigerian Journalists Dig Deep Into Land and Property Rights

Reporters from Nigeria’s leading media outlets were among the 55 professional journalists and 48 students who attended a unique journalism workshop on “Covering Land and Property Rights” held in Lagos on November 24 and 25. Continue Reading



US and Brazil ink PPH to solve patent delay

The US and Brazil have agreed to form a Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) aimed at speeding up patent applications in both jurisdictions. Continue Reading


Proposed law may remove indigenous land rights in Brazil

Maria Valdenice Nukini believes it’s her duty to protect her ancestral territory in northern Brazil and raise awareness of the role indigenous communities play in protecting nature. That’s why she recently traveled 4,700 kilometers from her isolated reserve in the northern state of Acre to Rio de Janeiro to protest oil and gas exploration that may take place near her community, located on the border with Peru. Continue Reading



Gearing and Protecting Intellectual Property for the World Market

Trade has been a big focus for the Australian Government in recent months. Newly minted bi-lateral and multi-lateral international trade agreements are in place, which are sure to open up greater export and investment opportunities for Australian companies. However, if you want to participate, can you be sure your intellectual property is protected? It is important that Australian suppliers fully protect their IP rights in those overseas markets – in relation to trademarks, patents and designs, and copyright. Continue Reading


Free Trade and Property Rights

USTR review notes gains in PHL compliance with international labor rights

The Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) has noted gains on the Philippines’s adherence to international labor standards, paving the way for the country to fully enjoy the benefits under the preferential trade scheme. A USTR news statement release on Friday said that the conclusion of its review is “…based on progress by the Philippine government in addressing worker rights issues in that country, including through reforms of labor laws and regulations.” Continue Reading


THE PHILIPPINES and the European Free Trade Association (Efta) have substantially moved forward negotiations on a free trade agreement following the fourth round of talks last week. “The meetings were held in a positive and efficient atmosphere and substantial progress was achieved in all areas,” the Efta said. According to Efta, the working groups convened on November 24-27 in Geneva, Switzerland, to discuss all areas under negotiation, including trade in goods and services, investment, intellectual property rights Continue Reading


Plain Packaging

Plain packaging celebrates its third birthday as France green-lights brand-free tobacco packs

Plain packaging is officially three years old today, and last week France took a significant step towards becoming the latest country to introduce legislation for the presentation of tobacco products. However, as the spread of plain packaging continues, pro-IP voices are getting lost in the mix, with the narrative framed as boiling down to ‘pro-health interests v big tobacco’. Continue Reading


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WTA Letter from the Chairman – November 2015

Section: Members Highlights
20 November 2015 | WTA Letter from the Chairman – November 2015

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

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 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:
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:

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:

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:

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 Wennberg

Chairman World Taxpayers Associations

Phone+ 46 708 15 04 95

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International Taxpayer Leaders Forum Newsletter, N.37

Section: WTA Blog
6 November 2015 | International Taxpayer Leaders Forum Newsletter, N.37


International Taxpayer Leaders Forum Newsletter, N.37 – November 6, 2015

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Two Videos about the Interchange Fees by Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance

The Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance is a non-profit, free-market advocacy organization very similar to Americans for Tax Reform, and is a member of the International Alliance for Electronic Payments.  They have produced the following two videos in response to the Australian Central Bank’s proposal to further regulate Interchange Rates. Here is the YouTube version of the shorter of the two videos:  Video One & Video Two

North America

What Places Benefit Most From the Earned Income Tax Credit?

The Earned Income Tax Credit is a policy designed to help working Americans with low incomes. For a more general overview of what it does, I’ll refer you to this piece we put together last year, which explains it in more detail. The EITC is claimed by individual tax filers, of course, but if you map the claims on a more regional basis, you can see how the EITC is also—aggregated over millions of filings—a program that delivers an influx of cash to distressed areas in the United States. Continue Reading


Playing Politics With Internet Taxes

Lost in the news about how Congress avoided a government shutdown until December 11 by passing a short-tem funding extension was that the Internet Tax Freedom Act (ITFA) was extended for the same duration, continuing the long-standing moratorium on Internet taxes. Otherwise the moratorium would have ended on September 30, and consumers would have felt a hit in the pocketbook almost immediately. ITFA was first signed into law in 1998, and it has been extended repeatedly. Originally intended to be permanent but negotiated to be temporary, the Act bans federal, state and local governments from imposing discriminatory taxes on online sales and Internet access. Continue Reading


Reforms Cuba Needs

Fidel Castro took over the power in 1959. Shortly afterwards, he took one measure after another to dismantle all independent institutions and eliminate all individual liberties. As a consequence, all power was concentrated on him and him alone. He did not only consider that he has the right to decide on every aspect of the life of the society and any individual, but also that he has the right to decide how the society has to function for the next generations. By 2002, he changed the Constitution and declared that the laws imposed by himself cannot be invalidated by any means. Continue Reading


Trudeau tax changes a mixed bag

Canadians have chosen a change in government for the first time in a decade.  Justin Trudeau’s Liberals sailed to a majority government Monday on a message of change. So what will this “change” mean for Canadians’ pocketbooks? A look at the Liberal election platform tells us it’s a mixed bag. Continue reading



Video killed the radio star. But it’s Peter Fassbender who is about to kill the independent civic politician. Last week, the BC Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development rolled out legislation that would limit the amount of money municipal candidates could spend on their campaigns. But this new law will have an unfortunate, unintended consequence – it will prompt civic politicians across BC to run together on slates in order to pool spending limits and allow them to share expenses. Why send out one advertising piece, when you can be on six by running a slate? Continue reading


CTF Urges Minister Bains To Refuse Further Handouts for Bombardier

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) is calling on new Innovation, Science and Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains to reject requests from the government of Quebec and Bombardier to pledge additional federal tax dollars towards the hapless aerospace company. “We congratulate Minister Bains on his new appointment, and welcome the new Trudeau government’s pledge of ‘real change’,” said CTF Federal Director Aaron Wudrick. “If the minister is looking for a concrete way to demonstrate real change right out of the gate, he has an excellent opportunity to do so by refusing Bombardier’s pleas for yet another bailout.” Continue Reading




POLITICO Brussels Playbook, presented by Google: Single market day — Migration ultimatums — Talking to Turkey

COMMISSION WILL LAUNCH A NEW INTERNAL MARKET STRATEGY TODAY: The need to complete Europe’s single market is perhaps the biggest thing a strong majority of European leaders and citizens still agree on. President Juncker and his team (led by Vice President Katainen and Commissioner Bieńkowska) launch this strategy at noon CET to fill in the gaps. It will be a series of targeted actions rather than a big bang approach. Expect: Continue Reading

Destabilization of Polish Public Finance Instead of Reforms

In the end of September 2015 Civil Development Forum (FOR) organized press conference to inform about the 5th anniversary of the public debt clock located in the city center of Warsaw. In Poland, public expenditures have significantly exceeded revenues for many years. This, in turn, led to higher public debt. At the same time, none of the parties in power has conducted a comprehensive reform of the public finance in the last 10 years. Meanwhile, the pre-election campaign is dominated by costly promises instead of reforms necessary to lower the deficit and public debt. Continue Reading

Tragic Story of Slovakian Declining Competitiveness

In the most recent ranking of the World Economic forum, which compares the competitiveness of 140 countries around the world, Slovakia ranked 67th. Since we ranked 8 places higher the year before, the media presented this as positive news. If we, however, look at the long-term evolution of the Slovak economy’s competitiveness not only in this, but in other rankings, we realize that the picture we are looking at is drastically different. What becomes apparent is a tragic story of a dramatic decline in our competitiveness. Continue Reading

Populism Behind Land Ownership Regulation in Bulgaria

A lack of reasoned argumentation when legislating is not uncommon practice of the Bulgarian Parliament. According to our expert assessments, at least 70% of all submitted for consideration drafts of normative acts are with no justification and assessment of expected costs and benefits. This leads to wrong policies, costly policy mistakes, burdened businesses, unpredictable business environment and opportunities for lobbyist to act in favour of specific groups. Continue Reading


Tax and IP: follow the money

The release of the final BEPS reports may prompt a detailed analysis of a corporation’s global tax structure, including the location of IP ownership and profit-generating activities, says Linda Pfatteicher of Squire Patton Boggs. In the wake of the October 5, 2015 release of the final package of “Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS)” reports from the OECD, as well as the European Commission’s decision on October 21 accusing Fiat and Starbucks of violating EU state aid rules, multinational corporations are looking at their intangible property ownership globally and assessing what, if any, changes need to be made to their global transfer pricing structures. Continue Reading


Commission seeks to remove EU “digital borders” in e-commerce sector inquiry

On 6 May 2015, the European Commission launched an inquiry into the e-commerce sector, addressing concerns that commercial arrangements between private companies are unjustifiably restricting cross-border online trading. Although the Commission is looking at a wide range of arrangements, the inquiry centres on “geo-blocking” and other measures that the Commission considers prevent consumers from freely choosing an online “e-tailer” or content provider. The first set of information requests has already been sent to a vast number of companies, such as wholesalers, suppliers, online retailers and online content service providers. The Commission has set out to publish a preliminary report for consultation in 2016 and a final report in the beginning of 2017. Continue Reading


Greece: Bailout reforms go to parliament on Thursday

A bill to enact a number of the reforms required by the Greek bailout deal will go to parliament for approval on Thursday. The bill includes some, but not all measures which Greece’s European creditors require if the next tranche of next €2 billion ($2.2 billion)  tranche of its three-year, €86 billion bailout loans. One such measure is the reduction of the number of installments Greek citizens can have in repaying money owed in taxes or social security. Currently, they can enjoy 100 installments, but the bill would limit that number in certain cases. Continue reading


No way, Norway!

The Economist discussed recently the necessary ‘devolution’ of the Scandinavian model in Norway, following similar trends in Sweden and Denmark. The article makes several good points about the effects of bureaucratization and high-tax welfare on entrepreneurship and corporate culture in a country where the government owns 40% of the stock market and employs 33% of the workforce (almost double the percentage in OECD countries). Continue Reading




Asean united in fighting IS

During Malaysia’s tenure in chairing the Asean Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM Plus) here this year, it has gained cooperation and unanimous agreement of all 10 Asean members to jointly declare their stand against the Islamic State (IS) threat. Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said he also saw commitments by the expert working groups on cooperation of the six priority areas, among others was supporting regional stability and the fight against terrorism. “ADMM have shown a united front to the world and work very hard to endure that capable to address our ever changing security threats “Security threats today are no longer one nation affairs, we can never be completely insulated from problems beyond our borders,” he said. Continue Reading


How Beijing and the West Work Together to Manipulate the Global Currency War

From reading the commentaries you might have imagined that the process of a currency winning international reserve status depends on getting the IMF seal of approval. At least that seems to be the story with China. So, strange to tell, the great international monies of the past evolved either before the IMF was created or without its help. Think of the Deutsche mark and Swiss franc — the two upstarts of the 1970s and 1980s — or briefly the Japanese yen when it enjoyed great popularity. Their emergence was due to the path of monetary stability chosen by their issuing authorities together with complete freedom from restrictions. So why is the world of currency diplomacy now playing along with the nonsense of the IMF examining whether the Chinese yuan has met the criterion to become a reserve currency? Continue Reading

Philippines still needs to cut costs in international trade

The most hard working, most efficient persons will not be able to produce all the goods and services that they need for themselves and their families. But there are always other people willing to produce these things or render these services in exchange for money, useful goods, and services. On the macro level, no country or economy can prosper quickly without trade. And that includes countries that incur frequent trade deficits (in which their imports exceed their exports). Imported machines, vehicles, and computers become inputs for several activities used for the production of goods and services in the domestic economy. Continue Reading


ASEAN set to become next global economic powerhouse

Established to promote collaboration, peace and stability among its members, The Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) has been in existence since 1967. However, this December marks a significant step in its economic development with the creation of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC). The advent of the AEC brings not only a master plan for regional economic integration but the likely realisation of ASEAN’s exceptional potential both as a low-cost manufacturing hub and an importer of consumer goods. Continue Reading

Ibero America

Elections in Argentina: What’s Next?

What went wrong? This is what the members of the Peronist leadership must be asking themselves after the first round of the presidential elections, held on Sunday October 25th. Just two months ago they were repeating the mantra that their candidate, Daniel Scioli, “had already won.” They were convinced that their candidate would almost certainly avoid having to compete in the second round or at least get between 8 and 10 % more votes than his closer contestant. The meager 2.5 % difference Mr. Scioli actually got over Mauricio Macri, current mayor of Buenos Aires and main opposition candidate, came as a shock for all the political landscape. Now the government has to face a second round starting from a very weak position. Continue Reading


Squandering economic freedom: Nations that forsake free markets also endanger civil and personal liberties

There was good news for Argentina last week. It was expected that Daniel Scioli, the Peronist candidate and political heir of Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, would win the presidential election. Much to most people’s surprise, Maurico Macri, the more free-market-oriented mayor of Buenos Aires, won almost as many votes as Mr. Scioli, forcing a runoff, which Mr. Macri has a good chance to win. The Peronists (named after former dictator Juan Peron) have had political control much of the last 70 years, and it has been a disaster for the country. Continue Reading


Reflections on Venezuela’s “Economic Miracle”

Back in 2013, Salon took a quick break from criticizing a caricature of libertarianism to let David Sirota write an embarrassing article praising socialism in what turns out to be a fantastic case study in both the dangers of socialist economics and of course, speaking too soon. The article was titled “Hugo Chavez’s Economic Miracle” and it was certainly not the only one of its kind to come out at the time. It may seem like twenty-twenty hindsight to criticize such foolishness, but it might be instructive as well. However, looking at Venezuela now as compared to the country Sirota saw in 2013 and thought provided an economic alternative to American capitalism (a truly free market was never discussed) serves as a good example of what Nicolás Cachanosky calls “the bait-and-switch behind economic populism.” Continue Reading


In Brazil, Free-Market Ideas Rise as the Economy Falls

For those of us not in Brazil, it is hard to interpret the commentary on Brazil’s economy right now. Brazil’s debt was recently reduced to junk status, and we can see that Brazil’s economy is not doing well. But how severe is the crisis? Antony Mueller: Part of the explanation is that for a large part of the population and for the government itself, the crisis came as a shock. At first, the Brazilian government ignored the coming of the crisis and when it arrived, the government ignored its existence. Imagine Brazil like a family with a lot of inherited wealth that spends as if there were no tomorrow. Continue Reading



Tax reform: drive out government waste before raising taxes

Few things excite politicians more than spending money and cutting ribbons. Few things annoy voters more than tax hikes, especially if the extra tax is supporting government spending addictions. Across the world, governments have resolved this dilemma by accumulating debts, passing the buck to future generations. Australian state governments are on to a better trick — convince the federal government to raise taxes, and then get hold of the money. Continue Reading


Free Trade

The Trans-Pacific Partnership: Leveling the playing field for American workers & American businesses

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) writes the rules for global trade—rules that will help increase Made-in-America exports, grow the American economy, support well-paying American jobs, and strengthen the American middle class. TPP will make it easier for American entrepreneurs, farmers, and small business owners to sell Made-In-America products abroad by eliminating more than 18,000 taxes & other trade barriers on American products across the 11 other countries in the TPP—barriers that put American products at an unfair disadvantage today. Continue Reading

Find the full text here:

New Zealand, EU To Launch Free Trade Talks

The European Union and New Zealand have said they will launch negotiations toward a free trade agreement. The commitment was made in a joint statement issued following a meeting between European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Council Donald Tusk, and New Zealand Prime Minister John Key. They said: “Today we committed to start the process for negotiations to achieve swiftly a deep and comprehensive high-quality free trade agreement. Discussions to define the scope and overall approach to the negotiations should start as soon as possible.” Continue Reading


Hong Kong’s accession to the Trans-Pacific Partnership

Recently, 12 countries, including the United States, Japan, Singapore and Australia, reachedan agreement on the formulation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The combined gross domestic product (GDP) of these countries accounts for 40 per cent of the world’s GDP. Although some pro-establishment commentators consider that TPP is a move of the United States aimed to exclude China or even a tool used to blockade China, there are comments that TPP will have impacts on Hong Kong’s future economic development, economic independence, role positioning and international status. Continue Reading



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The 13th WTA Conference is Around the Corner!!

Section: WTA Blog
6 November 2015 | The 13th WTA Conference is Around the Corner!!

The 13th WTA Conference will be upon us soon! This year it is being held in Berlin and hosted by The German Taxpayers Association, 17th-20th March 2016.

There will also be Free Market Road Show, the TaxPayer Leaders Forum, and European Resource Bank! Look at the document below for more information. A registration link is coming soon, so please start the visa process in your respective countries!

WTA Conference March 2016




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

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

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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