In our December 2016 Taxcast: In trusts we trust? We look at the new game in town: beneficial ownership avoidance, the booming industry in alternative escape vehicles from public registers and why we must shine the spotlight on all of them.
Plus: we discuss two big stories we think will define 2017: the race to the bottom between nations on tax aka a transfer of wealth to the corporate community, and how the world’s biggest havens are increasingly having to account for the devastating effect their tax and/or financial secrecy policies are having on human rights around the world… We also report from the appeal of tax justice heroes Antoine Deltour and Rapahel Halet in Luxembourg.
Updated with further information about Brazil’s decision – see below.
From the Financial Times:
More precisely, a group of 185 American CEOs has sent letters, co-ordinated by the Business Roundtable lobby group, to the leaders of 28 EU member states to try and get the European Commission to row back from claiming €13bn in underpaid taxes from Apple. They call the attempt a “grievous self-inflicted wound”.
We have for years remarked that one of our informal markers of a tax haven is loud tax haven denials. See our ‘we are not a tax haven‘ blog for more. There’s probably no place more vocal than Ireland, where there seems to be a veritable industry of tax haven deniers, which specialises in cherry-picking convenient facts and making a pudding of them. (The other big Irish tax myth is that it was the 12.5 percent corporate tax rate that created Ireland’s Celtic Tiger: no, it wasn’t.)
Let’s state it clearly: Ireland is a big tax haven for multinational corporations, even if it isn’t particularly secretive. Or, in more succinct form, for those who have difficulty reading small text:
Ireland is a tax haven.
TJN’s Andres Knobel participated in a conference in Panama on February 18-19, hosted by the Inter-American Centre of Tax Administrations (CIAT) & the German International Cooperation Agency (GIZ), and involving tax administrations from Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Italy, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Portugal, Spain and Uruguay.
The conference’s purpose was to push forwards a new initiative (called DIP) to boost the availability of public information of tax Interest among CIAT member states. In plain English, the proposal involves creating an interactive map with details of all relevant “public” information from each jurisdiction (e.g. commercial registry web-page, registry of importers and exporters, etc.), to give foreign authorities easy access to public information without needing to send a formal request.
Bangladeshi rights groups demand Tax Transparency Global Alliance for Tax Justice
Australia: Senate repeals tax secrecy law after ‘astroturf’ revelations Cootamundra Herald
“It’s a great day for democracy when a sneaky attempt to ensure more secrecy around corporate tax is thrown out” – Mark Zirnsak, TJN Australia
Tax haven makes residency easier for the rich swissinfo
“One rule for the rich and one for the poor”.