WTA Chairman’s Update #9: April-June 2018

Section: Letter from the Chairman / Members Highlights / WTA Blog
25 April 2018


Dear WTA Members, observers and friends:

Upcoming WTA Events:

Regional Taxpayers Forum in Copenhagen Denmark May 28, 2018
The first WTA-sponsored Regional Taxpayers Forum of 2018 will take place in Copenhagen Denmark, May 28. The World Taxpayers Associations along with The Tax Foundation andAmericans for Tax Reform are pleased to invite European and international delegates to join us for a discussion on tax policy.

Registration and fees:
If you have paid your 2018 Membership Fee to the WTA, there is no cost for you to attend this event. Please e-mail Melanie Harvie at melanie.harvie@worldtaxpayers.org for your discount code. The code is valid for two registrants within your organization up to April 30. After that, a fee of 50 USD per person will be charged.
For other attendees, the conference has a fee of 50 USD per person and it includes conference materials, coffee breaks, lunch and evening reception.
Please act soon, space is limited! You can register here.

Comwell Conference Center
Center Boulevard 5
DK 2300 Copenhagen S
Web: https://www.comwellconferencecopenhagen.dk/

AC Hotel Reservations:

AC Hotel Bella Sky Copenhagen
Center Boulevard 5
2300 Copenhagen S, Denmark
Tel.: +45 32 47 30 00
Room rates at the AC Hotel Bella Sky are 1,450 DKK (about USD$245) for a single room and 1,650 DKK (about USD$280) for a double room. Room rates include breakfast. Reservations must be provided to the hotel by Atlas Network. To make your room reservations, please email the following information to sherry.romello@atlasnetwork.org:

  • First Name:
  • Last Name:
  • Organization:
  • Check in Date & Time:
  • Check out Date & Time:
  • Room Type: Single or Double (If requesting Double, please provide # of guests and whether you will one bed or two in the room).

The agenda is posted on the WTA website. We look forward to welcoming you in Denmark in May.

Regional Taxpayers Forum in Lima, Peru, October 12-14th 2018
The second WTA-sponsored Regional Taxpayers Forum of 2018 will take place in Lima, Peru, October 12-14th 2018. The World Taxpayers Associations along with Respect for Taxpayers(Contribuyentes por Respeto) are pleased to invite delegates to join us in an exchange of ideas and best practices to advance taxpayer advocacy in Latin America.

17th World Taxpayers Conference in Sydney, Australia May 23-26, 2019
In May 2019 World Taxpayers Associations along with the Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance and Tax and Super Australia is pleased to invite delegates from across the world to join us in Sydney for four days exchanging ideas and best practices to advance the cause of limited and accountable government.

More information about the conference can be found here.


Member News:

PERU: Contribuyentes por Respeto (CpR) Launches Online Tax Calculator
An online tax calculator developed by Contribuyentes por Respeto has been officially adopted by the tax-collecting agency in Peru.
The tax calculator software is based on a similar calculator developed by the Lithuanian Free Market Institute. CpR implemented the tax calculator to help small business owners understand the complex tax structure of the nation. The program attracted the attention of the Peruvian tax collection agency and a major small business organization. The agency approached CpR to develop a partnership and the two organizations plan to roll out an improved version of the tax calculator in May 2018 to be used by all Peruvian citizens.


UNITED KINGDOM: TaxPayers’ Alliance Town Hall Rich List
The TaxPayers’ Alliance has released the annual Town Hall Rich List, detailing just how many council employees are being awarded fat cat salaries of over £100,000 a year – during a time of so-called “austerity.”


FRANCE: Contribuables Associes — Stop the Macron Tax
Contribuables Associes is running a petition in order to stop the hike of Social Security Contributions and of local taxes, the aptly dubbed “Macron Tax”.  Eudes Baufreton notes that “this increase will mostly affect retirees … instead of trying to raise more taxes, the government should start cutting spending”.


CANADA: Government Waste Award and Carbon Taxes
The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) continues to gain traction fighting carbon taxes. The CTF gathered the signatures of two opposition politicians – expected to be elected — in two important Canadian provinces committing to abolish the carbon tax if elected. Momentum against carbon taxes has shifted significantly in Canada over the past two years.
The CTF’s annual waste awards – The Teddies — included winners (losers?) in four categories. The federal government took top honours for putting up an $8.2 million skating rink on Parliament Hill to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday. The rink was one block from the world’s largest outdoor skating rink (The Rideau Canal). CTF calculations showed the federal government subsidized each skater on the temporary structure to the tune of $53.


SWEDEN: The Waste Ombudsman
With 2018 an election year in Sweden, The Swedish Taxpayers Association decided to scale up their Slöseriombudsman – The Waste Ombudsman. The project started in 2010 disclosing the extensive waste of the taxpayers’ money and showing the potential that exists to lower internationally high Swedish taxes. It also scrutinizes political proposals and actions at local and national levels putting focus on waste and corruption by highlighting examples both in traditional media and social media. The Waste Ombudsman has over 80 000 followers on Facebook – very high numbers for Sweden! Recently, an extensive report was presented on waste in Gothenburg, Sweden’s second largest city. The report elaborated by a well-known writer in Gothenburg was partly crowd funded and created a lot of resonance both in Gothenburg and nationally.
Find out more about the Waste Ombudsman here.


UKRAINE: The Ukrainian Economic Freedom Foundation Fights to Save Taxpayers Money in US, EU and Ukraine. 
Ukraine’s Budget Committee approved the government’s request to grant a Ukrainian billionaire $60 million in agriculture subsidies. But this is not only Ukraine’s taxpayer money as the US government issued loan guarantees for Ukraine worth $1 billion and the European Commission recently approved a new state aid program for the Ukrainian state budget worth 1,8 billion euro.Maryan Zablotskyy, director of the Ukrainian Economic Freedom Foundation, is collecting signatures for a joint coalition letter on this issue to be sent to the US Treasury, White House, Congress and the European Commission.
Find out more here.


UKRAINE: Taxpayers Association of Ukraine Works to Bring International Investors to Ukraine
This month, the Taxpayers Association of Ukraine organized a meeting between Kennedy Merchant Partners International of the United States and owners and CEOs of the biggest industrial companies in Ukraine. They discussed US-Ukrainian relations, the possibility of investing in the Ukrainian economy and Ukraine’s role in the modern world. Matthew Kennedy remarked that Ukraine is of interest to foreign investors. As part of the visit, the delegation also met with the country’s government officials.


UNITED STATES: Tax Freedom Day April 19th 
The Tax Foundation recently released its report on Tax Freedom Day. Tax Freedom Day is a significant date for taxpayers and lawmakers because it represents how long Americans as a whole have to work in order to pay the nation’s tax burden. This year, Tax Freedom Day falls on April 19, 109 days into 2018. Tax Freedom Day will be three days earlier than it was in 2017, in large part due to recent federal tax reform, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which lowered federal individual and corporate income taxes.


UNITED STATES: Risk of Global Trade War
Taxpayer groups in the US are concerned about the potential of a trade war threatened by President Trump.
Erica York, from the Tax Foundation, issued a note stating that “the potential of a trade war with China threatens to claw back nearly a quarter of the benefits that Americans expected to see from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA)”.
For 2018, businesses and individuals can expect their tax burdens to go down by nearly $136 billion which allows for greater investment, employment, and wages. However, a 25% tariff imposed on $150 billion worth of Chinese goods annually equates to a nearly $38 billion tax increase on American businesses and consumers.
“Rather than playing a game of chicken with the U.S. economy, we should allow the TCJA to do its job and work with allies and the World Trade Organization to address unfair trade practices. Tariffs will not make us more competitive,” she noted.


Further, Bryan Riley, director of the National Taxpayers Union’s Free Trade Initiative considers that “We should be very worried. It’s very possible this could escalate into something that neither country intends.” To read the full statements of the NTU on this issue, click here.


UNITED STATES: Impact of EU Digital Tax Scheme
Another major concern of US tax groups is the proposed digital tax in Europe. Scott Hodge, president of the Tax Foundation, debunks European Commission claims justifying new taxes on digital companies in this blog.


Further, the National Taxpayers Union considers that if put into force, the tax will have “severe consequences for worldwide tax administration, the global economy, and international relations”. NTU President Pete Sepp offered the following explanation: “Creating a set of tax rules that is ungrounded in solid principles, complex in its implementation, and discriminatory in its application should be troubling to all taxpayers, wherever they reside. Slapping a special tax on vaguely-defined financial flows, targeting companies based on worldwide revenue, and conjuring up a new definition of physical presence for tax purposes are all hallmarks of an arbitrary approach that violates sound tax administration and threatens to raise tensions among countries that should be engaging in mutually beneficial commerce. If these ill-advised policies can be inflicted upon any group of taxpayers, no one is safe”. You can read more about this issue here.


AUSTRALIA: The Failure of Plain Packaging
Satyajeet Marar, Director of Policy and Anjali Nadaradjane, Research Associate at the Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance wrote an article that canvases the most recent data/evidence and focuses on Australia’s tobacco plain packaging as both a policy failure as well as an attack on IP rights. Read the full article “Plain packaging: fraud, farce and failure” published in The Spectator.


A global coalition of 61 organizations organized by Americans for Tax Reform’s Property Rights Alliance sent a letter — Five Years of Failure — to new World Health Organization Director Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus in reference to the plain packaging policy WHO continues to promote. Evidence shows plain packaging has not reduced smoking in Australia.
The Global Coalition Letter can be accessed here.



SLOVAKIA: Price of the State
The Institute of Economic and Social Studies in Slovakia (INESS) finds that the Price of the State per person is rising every year, this time the number hitting EUR 6,326. This is a EUR 169 increase compared to last year. Another figure to keep an eye on is the state debt calculated per person: this time it is EUR 8,213, which is also higher than in previous years. Despite ever increasing income, the state is unable to implement a balanced budget. In addition to its online calculator, where anyone can find out their own price of the state, INESS continues its cooperation with small and medium sized enterprises and thanks to them the bill for government services has reached tens of thousands of households once again.


LITHUANIA: Progressive Taxation?
A proposal to introduce a progressive income tax model in Lithuania was introduced in the Parliament.  The proposal would tax annual incomes up to €20,000 at the current (flat) rate of 15per cent. Incomes from €20,000 to €30,000 would be taxed at 16per cent, from €30,000 to €40,000 at 17 per cent, and everything in excess of €40,000 would be taxed at 20 per cent. Politicians openly speak of progressive income taxation as a solution to the widening income gap. The Lithuanian Free Market Institute (LFMI) debunks these statements with real data.  LFMI considers that politicians show ignorance of the fact tax “progressiveness” is already hidden under the guise of tax-exempt thresholds and social insurance contributions. Lithuania’s flat tax has been an international success story.


OECD: Statutory Tax Rates on Dividends, Interest, and Capital Gains 
A new OECD paper can be found here.


Save the Date!
Upcoming Atlas Network Events: 

Europe Liberty Forum 2018
May 29-30
Copenhagen, Denmark

Latin America Liberty Forum 2018
June 13-14
Santiago, Chile

Africa Liberty Forum 2018
August 23-24
Lagos, Nigeria

In closing, I’d like to encourage everyone to please visit our website and our Facebook group. Our community is only as strong and as beneficial as we choose to make it. Please work with our Secretary General Cristina Berechet to feed good content into this newsletter and our network at large.
Keep up the fight!

Troy Lanigan
Chair, World Taxpayers Associations
President, Canadian Taxpayers Federation
E-mail | troy.lanigan@worldtaxpayers.org
Skype | troy_lanigan