By Winnie Byanyima of Oxfam International
After the world was plunged into a financial crisis, back in 2009, G20 leaders promised to clean up the international tax system, once and for all. The result – five years on – is a plan of action devised for them by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development to tackle Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS), a series of tactics used by multinational companies to make profits ‘disappear’ or move to another country, to pay less or even avoid paying corporate taxation. Read more >>
South Korea’s stock exchange opened a gold trading platform on Monday with the hope of boosting transparency of gold trades and rooting out shady deals used for tax evasion.
Eight brokerages and 49 dealers were allowed to participate in the market. They will get tax benefits to encourage their active participation and they will be exempted from trading commissions temporarily until March 2015. Importers of gold to be traded on the exchange will also be exempted from tariffs to increase supply. Read more >>
A further twist in the tumultuous case of Vodafone and the Indian tax authority.
After deciding to scrap conciliation talks with Vodafone India just two weeks ago, the Indian government has put the offer back on the table – just as the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is making noise about resolving these kinds of conflicts if it comes to power following this year’s general election.
It is just the latest in a protracted $2.6bn dispute over capital gains taxes allegedly due in connection with Vodafone’s acquisition of Hutchison Essar back in 2007. Read more >>
By Richard Asquith of TMF Group
It has been a difficult three years for Egypt, both politically and economically. The euphoria following the toppling of President Mubarak has given way to violent turmoil and a sharp decline in the country’s traditional economic drivers: exports, FDI and tourism. GDP growth has fallen from 7 per cent in 2009 to just over 1 per cent today and, with unemployment rising to over 13 per cent and a national debt equivalent to 89 per cent of GDP, major economic surgery is required. Read more >>
All questions in India today seem to have the same answer. Everything, it seems, depends on the results of the upcoming general election.
So it’s refreshing to find someone saying that – in some ways – it doesn’t matter who comes into power in the centre. Read more >>
Nokia, the Finnish telecoms group, asked the Delhi High Court on Thursday to release factory assets frozen by tax authorities this year, as it prepares to hand its mobile devices unit to Microsoft.
Back in September Microsoft announced plans to buy the loss-making business from cash-strapped Nokia for €5.4bn. But in India, the deal faces a small complication: a $321m tax dispute in which Nokia’s local assets were frozen. Bank accounts have subsequently been released but fixed assets – including a factory in Chennai – remain stuck in limbo. Read more >>
Did Enrique Peña Nieto’s proposed fiscal reform, unveiled on Sunday, deliver what Mexico needs to boost its woefully low tax take? One way of assessing that is to gauge what the reform aims to provide against the bills that Mexico has to pay. On that basis, the answer is “Partly” – even though the economic slowdown prompted Peña Nieto to hold back from a widely expected sales tax increase on medicines and food. Read more >>
By Emma Seery of Oxfam
While disagreements over Syria are likely to dominate the annual G20 summit in St Petersburg this week, leaders are at least in agreement about one key issue on the table: the need to rewrite global corporate tax rules. Read more >>
Where’s the easiest place in the world to set up an untraceable shell company? Cayman? Singapore? Jersey? Not according to research by a group of academics. Actually, the answer is Kenya. Read more >>
Overheard in an up-market pharmacy in São Paulo:
Till operator: “Tax code on your receipt, madam?”
Customer: “On a bill this size? God forbid, my husband would kill me!”
The tax code on the receipt is a nifty idea that at first glance should have universal appeal. So what was this customer’s problem? Read more >>
In a bid to jump-start its struggling auto assembly industry, Ukraine has introduced yet another tax on auto imports, infuriating officials at the European Union and further jeopardising any chance of signing planned association and free trade agreements with the EU in the autumn. Read more >>
From Oleksandr Klymenko, Minister of Revenues and Duties of Ukraine
In response to the article Ukraine: will new tax law hit the oligarchs? published in the FT on July 10, 2013, I would like to clarify a few points about Ukraine’s new transfer pricing control legislation.
Amendments to the Law on Transfer Pricing adopted by the Parliament do not distort the original intent of the initiative; the “place of profit” for transnational corporations who have production facilities in Ukraine should correspond to the location of these facilities and product manufacture. Read more >>
There's an oligarch in there somewhere
With economic challenges piling up fast, you would think Ukraine’s government would move fast to clean up things at home. Cracking down on tax evasion in a country where half of the economy is estimated to operate in the shadows would be a good place to start.
But will the ruling administration of president Viktor Yanukovich force the billionaire oligarchs who backed him into paying their fair share of taxes, or will they continue applying various means to squeeze hard-earned cash out of average citizens that are struggling to survive? Read more >>
Kenya may have avoided the dreaded ‘resource curse’ afflicting many of its African peers, but that leaves the government with painful revenue-raising choices, such as the controversial recent attempt to raise taxes on mobile money transfers.
But the country might not be as resource-barren as it once seemed. Read more >>
Apart from the sunshine, beaches and tender sea breeze, there’s now another reason to head for Hainan, China’s southernmost holiday island: duty-free shopping. Read more >>