Switzerland and the United States are the biggest promoters of financial secrecy according to an index published today by the Tax Justice Network (TJN). The index ranks countries based on their level of secrecy and the percentage of financial services provided to non-residents.
The Council of the European Union announced Tuesday that the EU has amended its blacklist of jurisdictions that it deems uncooperative in tax matters, removing eight jurisdictions from that list. EU finance ministers removed eight 'entities' - countries and territories - from the tax havens blacklist, while ruling out more transparency or sanctions.
Apple said on Wednesday it would make a one-time payment of $38bn to repatriate some of its vast overseas cash holdings, one of the largest corporate spending plans announced since the passage of a tax cut signed by U.S. President Donald Trump. The company, which has faced international criticism for its tax evasion policies, also said it would spend $30bn in the US over the next five years, creating 20,000 new jobs.
Pakistan and Switzerland will begin exchanging information from the current month under the Convention on Avoidance of Double Taxation (ADT), as the Senate Standing Committee on Finance was informed. However, they said information exchange would only be applicable on future cases.
Google saved itself as much as $3.7 billion in 2016 by moving 16 billion euros between Ireland, the Netherlands, and Bermuda using infamous legal loopholes that allow it to skirt high tax responsibilities overseas, according to a report from Bloomberg. Citing regulatory filings in the Netherlands, Google uses two structures, known as a "Double Irish" and a "Dutch Sandwich," to shield the majority of its international profits from taxation. The setup involves shifting revenue from one Irish subsidiary to a Dutch company with no employees, and then on to a Bermuda mailbox owned by another Ireland-registered company.
Caterpillar has long used a subsidiary in Geneva, Switzerland, called Caterpillar SARL, to process sales and profits for international orders, and the IRS wants the heavy-machinery maker to pay a $2 billion tax bill on that business, according to The Wall Street Journal. The Journal story goes onto say that, although the company maintains that its Swiss strategy, which results in an effective tax rate there of as low as 4%, is legal, some Caterpillar employees have questioned the practice, which began in 1999.
Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) introduced the Value Added Tax (VAT) for the first time from Monday. It is a five per cent tax on most goods and services to boost revenue. The VAT will be applied on food, clothes, electronics and gasoline, phone, water and electricity bills, as well as hotel reservations, the BBC reported. The five percent sales tax applies to most goods and services and analysts project that the two governments could raise as much as $21 billion in 2018, equivalent to 2.0 percent of GDP.
Switzerland's value-added tax regime will change from January 1, 2018, including to level the playing field for domestic companies compared with their online, overseas rivals. Currently, foreign companies providing services in Switzerland do not have to pay VAT on Swiss turnover up to a CHF100,000 threshold. In this way, it led to competitive disadvantages for Swiss businesses, especially in the border regions.
An investigation by Brussels is to be launched today into Ikea’s Dutch tax arrangements. The Financial Times is reporting that Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s competition commissioner, will today announce an official probe into Ikea’s tax arrangements in the Netherlands, which according to a report published by the Green Party in the European Parliament, allegedly have helped Ikea avoid nearly €1bn in EU taxes between 2009 to 2014.
The India's Income Tax (I-T) department is trying to find a way to tax bitcoin transactions, news agency Reuters reported on Wednesday quoting officials. The I-T department's intent may be seen in the light of the surveys it conducted at nine bitcoin exchanges across the country.
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