Bulletin 10

Printable Version

OECD: Taxpayer feedback requested for BEPS treaty dispute resolution

The OECD is asking for input for its peer reviews on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) treaty dispute resolution. Focus countries are the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Korea, Norway, Poland, Singapore and Spain. Taxpayers who wished to respond had to submit their input by 7 July 2017.

TAX EVASION: Ultra-rich Scandinavians evade tax on a third of their wealth

Academics in the US and Scandinavia have examined data leaked from HSBC Switzerland and the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca to deduce patterns of tax evasion behaviour by wealthy Scandinavians. Their report finds that on average about 3 per cent of personal taxes are evaded in Scandinavia, but this figure rises to about 30 per cent in households with more than USD40 million in net wealth. They also conclude that wealthy tax evaders tend not to adopt tax avoidance strategies after they have revealed their concealed assets in a tax amnesty.

SWITZERLAND: Forfait taxpayers are paying more

Switzerland’s lump sum tax (forfait) system for foreigners with large offshore incomes generated CHF767 million (USD791 million) of revenues from just over 5,000 taxpayers in 2016. The amount is 10 per cent higher than the last time statistics were published four years ago. The largest population of forfait taxpayers was in Vaud canton with 1,218, followed by Valais with 1,125, Ticino with 910 and Geneva with 638. Zug canton only has 127.

CANADA: Extended audit system brings extra CAD13 billion of tax revenue

The Canada Revenue Agency is currently conducting audits of over 820 taxpayers and criminally investigating 20 cases of tax evasion specifically linked to offshore accounts, partly based on its tracking of all high-value international electronic funds transfers to and from four selected jurisdictions and financial institutions of concern.

SOUTH AFRICA: Think tank warns against wealth tax

Introducing a new form of wealth tax will unfairly add to the high tax burden of a small number of taxpayers, a South African think tank has warned. The South African Institute of Race Relations said that South Africa has a small tax base, with just 560,000 individuals and 610 companies providing 60 per cent of personal and corporate income tax income. The Institute was responding to a Davis Tax Committee consultation on new wealth tax proposals.

TURKEY: Tax amnesty

Taxes, customs duties, social security premium liabilities and certain administrative fines are included in the latest amnesty in Turkey. The Law on the Restructuring of Certain Receivables and Amendment of Certain Laws and Decree-Laws No. 7020 (‘Amnesty Law’) was published in the Official Gazette No. 30078 and entered into force on 27 May 2017.

EUROPE: Commission to publish tax avoidance disclosure directive

The European Commission have published its draft legislation forcing financial intermediaries to reveal cross-border tax planning schemes that they have ‘facilitated’. The proposal is likely to take the form of amendments to the Directive on Administrative Cooperation, with member states expected to apply the provisions from 1 January 2019

UK: Extra three months grace to use Worldwide Disclosure Facility

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has announced that UK taxpayers using its Worldwide Disclosure Facility to reveal offshore assets will, in future, be granted an additional 90 days to make their disclosure, should their affairs be particularly complex. However, they must apply to HMRC to obtain permission to disclose after the usual deadline of 30 September 2018, after which new sanctions under the Requirement to Correct legislation will be applied.

AUTOMATIC EXCHANGE OF INFORMATION: Swiss banks lobby for extra client data protection

It is being reported that the Swiss private banking industry is lobbying its government to provide extra protection for confidential client information when exchanged with other countries under the OECD’s Common Reporting Standard. Yves Mirabaud, chairman of the Association of Swiss Private Banks and director of a Geneva bank, has warned that personal data could be leaked from corrupt government organisations in some countries, and then used to put pressure on clients or their families. The banks want to be able to refuse information exchange with countries that do not have suitable safeguards.

BVI: Full text of beneficial ownership register law is now available

The text of the British Virgin Islands’ Beneficial Ownership Secure Search System Act 2017 (BOSS) is now available. The BOSS legislation, enacted last week, requires registered agents to maintain records of beneficial owners of all BVI companies and make them directly available online to the relevant BVI authorities.

EUROPE: Action against promoters of cross-border tax planning schemes

The European Commission has proposed rules forcing intermediaries who design and promote cross-border tax planning schemes to report them to their national tax authorities. EU Member States will automatically exchange this information with one another through a centralised database.

Sources: STEP | IFC Review

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