International Taxpayer Leaders Forum Newsletter, N.31

Section: Taxpayer Leaders Forum
10 July 2015

 International Taxpayer Leaders Forum Newsletter, N.31 – July 6, 2015

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North America
New tax reality for Alberta’s top earners

Alberta’s newly introduced personal tax regime for high income earners means that Alberta will no longer have the lowest marginal tax rate in Canada, but it also raises the question of whether governments are able to collect current year tax increases so late in the year. Continue Reading


Paul takes long view of election

GOP presidential candidate and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul was in Cedar Rapids on Thursday looking past the deep field of Republican contenders to the general election. Paul, 52, an ophthalmologist before taking office in 2011, is vying for the nomination among 16 announced or likely contenders. Continue Reading


Supreme Court saves Obamacare

Obamacare has survived — again. In a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court saved the controversial health care law that will define President Barack Obama’s administration for generations to come. The ruling holds that the Affordable Care Act authorized federal tax credits for eligible Americans living not only in states with their own exchanges but also in the 34 states with federal marketplaces. Continue Reading


Rand Paul’s Tax Plan May Be Radical, But It’s Not Impossible

Last week Rand Paul unveiled his plan for the “Fair and Flat Tax.” That makes him the latest – but certainly not the last – presidential candidate to embrace the rhetoric of flatness. If recent experience is any guide, it won’t be an easy sell. Just ask Steve Forbes, Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry, or any of the other failed candidates who put flat taxes at the center of their campaigns. Continue Reading
Bill C-518 dead

We have some bad news. Late yesterday afternoon, the Senate shut down for the summer – without passing Bill C-518 (the law to revoke taxpayer-funded pensions from criminal politicians). Because there is an election scheduled for this fall and the Senate won’t sit again, the bill is now dead. Continue Reading


Latest U.S. Tax Break Fad Means Today’s Winners Would Score Anew

U.S. lawmakers are exploring a new corporate tax break that would benefit companies already adept at avoiding taxes. The idea — known as a patent box or innovation box — would impose a lower tax rate on income generated from patents and other intellectual property housed in the U.S. Continue Reading


Alberta ends legislature session with new rules on taxes, election financing

Alberta’s new NDP government wrapped up its spring session Thursday, passing three bills but inaugurating a sea of change in how the province raises money and finances elections. Continue Reading


The “Shouse” Movement – How Illinois’ High Property Tax is Driving the American Dream Underground

What’s a “Shouse?”  It’s a shed/house. This weird conception has been created to evade high property taxes – and it has implications across America. We discuss this sad development at Forbes today. Continue Reading


Looming highway debate stirs tax fight

A fight over raising taxes has bloomed as the chief obstacle to passing a desperately needed multi-year transportation bill by the end of next month, raising the specter of a possible shutdown of highway programs. Senate Finance Committee Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who is tasked with finding a way to pay for a multi-year deal, has ruled out the prospect of raising taxes, putting him on a collision course with Democrats. Continue Reading


Europe/ Eastern Europe

Greece Proposes tax amnesty for funds parked in Switzerland: Report

Greece has proposed a tax amnesty in an effort to collect revenue on billions of euros that its citizens are believed to have quietly stashed in Swiss bank accounts. Continue Reading
Greeks vote OXI – so now what?

In the end it wasn’t even close. It turns out Greek opinion polls are no more reliable than British ones. Far from the knife-edge decision polls predicted, the Greek referendum rejected the European Commission’s bailout terms (which, we should not forget, were going to be rejected by Eurozone finance ministers as “too soft”) by a huge margin of 61% to 39%. Continue Reading


Lower Tariffs Key To Tackling Poverty, Report Says

The World Trade Organization (WTO) and the World Bank said in a new joint report that reducing tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade is essential to eliminating extreme poverty. The report, The Role of Trade in Ending Poverty, says that tariff and non-tariff measures continue to generate significant trade costs for exporters in developing countries, including for goods that are important for the poor. Continue Reading


Greek Referendum 2015: Greek Voters Reject Bailout Offer, Vote ‘No’ On Creditors’ Demands

The final tally is in and an overwhelming majority of Greeks voted against the austerity demands of international creditors, a landslide result for the leftist government. With 92 percent of the vote counted, Greeks rejected the bailout terms 61 percent to 39 percent, the Interior Ministry said. Continue Reading

UK tax policy dictated by companies not ministers says leading treasury expert

The UK’s tax policy is effectively dictated by companies and not ministers, according to a leading barrister and adviser to the Treasury on its recent “Google tax”.

Philip Baker QC said policymakers and tax experts had learned over recent decades that the mobility of companies and jobs meant there was “no question [countries] have to be competitive to survive”. Continue Reading

Bulgaria Proposes Tax On Unhealthy Foods, Drinks

Bulgaria’s Deputy Health Minister, Adam Persenski, has outlined proposals for a tax on unhealthy foods. Persenski told Bulgaria’s largest newspaper, Dneven Trud, that his department would like to see a tax of between 3 percent and 10 percent on foods and drinks that contain a lot of sugar, salt, trans fats, caffeine, or taurine. Continue Reading


Switzerland Postpones Withholding Tax Reforms

The Swiss Federal Council is to postpone a planned overhaul of the withholding tax (WHT) system and re-examine the appropriateness of the reforms at a later date. In Switzerland, WHT is levied on interest, participation income, lottery winnings, and certain insurance benefits. It is collected from the debtor of the taxable item, in accordance with the debtor principle. It is refunded only if the corresponding income is declared. Continue Reading


Greece Willing to Raise Taxes on Merchant Ships

Greece’s government is willing to implement a higher tonnage tax on its giant merchant shipping industry, meeting its international creditors half way in their demands that the country does away with lucrative tax breaks for shippers. International creditors have asked Athens to impose higher taxes on its mainstay shipping sector—a move the government has long been loath to do for fear of sending shipping companies fleeing. Continue Reading


OECD Urges Greater Use Of Green Taxes

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has said in a new report that governments are under-utilizing taxation as a tool to curb the environmental consequences of energy use. The report, entitled Taxing Energy Use 2015: OECD and Selected Partner Economies, said that there is strong evidence that taxes are one of the most cost-effective ways to curb the negative side effects of energy use. Continue Reading


No flat tax and social contribution reductions in Romania’s new Fiscal Code

The flat tax reduction from 16% to 14% starting 2019 was removed from the new Fiscal Code project, which Romania’s Chamber of Deputies voted on Wednesday, June 24. So was the reduction of the social security contributions, which should have been enforced starting 2018. Continue Reading


Ireland Reviewing Property Tax

Fine Gael Member of Parliament Regina Doherty has said she is “confident that no excessive burden will arise for homeowners” when the recommendations of the Local Property Tax (LPT) review are implemented.In March, Finance Minister Michael Noonan asked former top civil servant Dr Don Thornhill to examine the overall yield from LPT and its contribution to total tax revenue on an ongoing basis. Continue Reading


Italian Cabinet Presents Tax Administration Decrees

The Italian Cabinet has issued further legislative decrees to give effect to tax administration and compliance reforms. The reforms were fast-tracked ahead of the expiry of the special tax reform law delega fiscale, which allows the Government to pass changes without parliamentary approval. Continue Reading


Hard, Cold Facts on Economy

Leadership on the Jamaican economy is vital at this time. The Jamaican economy is in dire straits. The economy is not growing at the rate it needs to, the employment rate is way too high, and debt still consumes too much of our national revenue. The list of woes continues ad nauseam. Continue Reading


Peru Grants Tax Exemption For Bonuses

The Peruvian Government on June 24, 2015, published a law granting a tax exemption for bonuses paid to employees on Independence Day and Christmas. According to a statement in the country’s Official Gazette, Law No 30334 is intended to provide a boost to the economy. Continue Reading


Blacklisted nations slam EU over ‘unacceptable’ tax haven register

Liechtenstein, Hong Kong, Bermuda, and Guernsey joined the organisation in questioning their “unacceptable” appearance on the Commission’s list of the 30 most un-cooperative tax jurisdictions. Continue Reading


Russia Confirms Tax Rate Freeze

Affirming commitments made last year, Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin, has stated that tax rates will be frozen for the next four years. Putin has indicated that he wants to offer greater support to new and growing businesses. He stated that the freeze will remain in place regardless of any other changing situations or budgetary pressures. Continue Reading


Cassation instance supports tax authorities in Oriflame case

On June 11, 2015, Moscow District Arbitration Court handed down its ruling in the controversial Oriflame case. In the case, the tax authorities challenged the lawfulness of a Russian organization deducting VAT and expenses (for profit tax purposes) on royalties paid to an affiliated foreign company for use of a trademark, trade name and know-how. Continue Reading
Middle East/Africa
Ivory Coast To Slash Taxes On Tech

The Government of the Ivory Coast has announced that it is to drastically cut taxes on computers and mobile phones. Value-added tax and customs duties will either be substantially reduced or removed. Previously, imported computers had been subject to a combined tax rate of 27 percent while imported phones and tablets had been subject to a rate of 32 percent. Continue Reading


Africa lost $1 trillion in 28 years

Africa has lost $1 trillion through Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) over a 28-year period. The loss was recorded between 1980 and 2008. The continent is reported to be losing $50 billion annually through the illegal activities of rich individuals and multinational companies in the extractive sector mostly in oil, gas and mining. Continue Reading


Oxfam, Senegal’s civil society forum call for a global summit on taxation

Oxfam and the Civil Forum (Senegalese branch of Transparency International) on Tuesday in Dakar, called for the holding of a world summit on taxation that will enable governments in developing countries to have the opportunity to discuss international tax rules which they do not benefit from. The summit will enable governments to have a say in defining tax policies. Continue Reading


Asia/Southeast Asia
China To Miss 2015 Tax Revenue Target

It appears unlikely that China will meet its budgetary target of a five percent increase in tax revenues this year, according to its Finance Minister Lou Jiwei, in comments alongside the presentation of a report on the Central Government’s fiscal accounts to the State Council.

The Central Government’s revenue in the five-month period to end-May 2015 reached only RMB2.95 trillion (USD402bn), an increase of only two percent over the same period last year. Continue Reading


Cairn Energy’s Indian Tax Dispute Shows the Value of ISDS Provisions in Trade Treaties

There’s the most horrific misunderstanding about the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions in international trade treaties such as the TPP and TTIP. On the one hand we’ve got those further to the left screaming that this is the institution of an entirely secret set of courts which can overrule democracy. On the other side, the more rational one like us here, we’ve people gently pointing out that it’s a long standing practice. Continue Reading
Canada-New Zealand Double Tax Pact In Force

A new double tax agreement and an accompanying protocol between New Zealand and Canada entered into force on June 26, 2015, which will lower withholding tax rates on certain cross-border income from August 1, 2015. The new treaty provides for a lower withholding rate on royalties income of 10 percent, down from 15 percent. Continue Reading


EU tax haven list criticised as arbitrary

An academic who specialises in tax havens says a blacklist released by the European Commission last week is arbitrary and poorly constructed. The list of 30 international tax havens was released last week, as part of an EU effort to crackdown on multinational companies trying to avoid paying tax. The list includes five Pacific countries; Niue, Nauru, the Marshall Islands, the Cook Islands and Vanuatu. Continue Reading


Mauritius deepens its commitment to fight international tax avoidance and evasion

In line with the international movement towards more transparency and exchange of information, Mauritius has taken a significant step to enhance its exchange of information legal framework and has signed the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters. Continue Reading


Travel Tax could prevent some families from taking overseas holidays, agent says

An overseas holiday could soon be out of reach for some New Zealand families after a new travel tax comes into effect next year, a travel agent says. From January 1 the government plans to introduce a “border clearance levy” of up to $18.30 for arriving air passengers and $3.60 for departing passengers. Continue Reading


Hot Topic

Wine hike is just another way to hurt the hard pressed middle classes

Wine – it is known as ‘the elixir of life’ and is a something that is a central part of life and society throughout Europe and North America. In countries with highly developed and distinct civilisations such as France and Italy, wine is a key characteristic and lubricant of the social and cultural rituals of their national identity and of their whole way of life. Continue Reading

Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products: Stubbing Out an Unending Scourge

Dominated globally by organised crime, the illicit tobacco trade could be said to be a frightening tripod that damages legitimate business, undermines public health and facilitates the supply of tobacco to young people. The criminality involved, including the use of the proceeds to fund other crimes, has a devastating effect on individuals and communities worldwide. Continue Reading


TDs want graphic warning labels on alcohol products

A new labelling system for alcohol products featuring health warnings similar to those found on tobacco products has been recommended in a new report. The report by the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Health and Children has called for “clear health warnings to be included on alcohol products, indicating that alcohol causes disease”. Continue Reading



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