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Taking Tax Personally

Kitty Miv, Editor
30 November, 2021

This week, we will be looking at recent tax policy measures and changes affecting individuals, starting with the United Kingdom, where the tax authority, HM Revenue & Customs, urged self-assessment taxpayers to be wary of falling foul of scams as the filing deadline approaches.

In a November 16 statement, HMRC warned that such scams were on the rise, with nearly 800,000 reported in the last year, as fraudsters use Self Assessment season to try and steal money or personal information from unsuspecting individuals, ahead of the January 31, 2022, deadline.

Meanwhile, in Ireland, the focus was on facilitating remote working for internationally mobile taxpayers and the companies that employ them, with the Irish Revenue having announced that it will extend the COVID-19 corporate tax concession for individuals situated in a different state because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The concession provides that, under certain conditions, Revenue will disregard for corporate tax purposes the presence of an employee, director, service provider, or agent in a country – either in Ireland or in an overseas jurisdiction – where the person is restricted from travel because of COVID-19. It has been extended until December 31, 2021.

In Switzerland, the authorities have launched a review into Swiss tax law on deductions for professional expenses, with a view to reducing distortions to work decisions and ensuring parity in treatment for those deciding to instead work remotely.

With involvement from the cantons, the Finance Ministry has been asked to draw up revenue-neutral proposals that would enable employees to choose between a flat-rate deduction for all professional costs or making a claim for actual costs incurred. Taxpayers would still be able to deduct up to CHF3,000 (USD3,241) in travel costs from federal tax liability.

In Malaysia, the federal tax authority has set out the terms of the tax amnesty scheme for undeclared assets overseas, announced in the 2022 Budget.

The amnesty was announced alongside plans to impose tax on income received from overseas by Malaysian resident taxpayers from January 1, 2022.

And finally for this week, taking an international overview of the tax picture as it affects individuals, the OECD has released a new report, "Does Inequality Matter?", looking at taxpayers' perceptions in different countries on wealth inequality, and examining potential tax policy responses.

The OECD report says while there is growing consensus that inequality is a problem, people are increasingly divided about its extent and what to do about it.

According to the report, more than 6 out of 10 OECD citizens believe their government should do more to reduce income differences between rich and poor with taxes and transfers. The more people are concerned about inequality and perceive low social mobility, the higher their demand for redistribution.

However, beliefs about effectiveness of policies and determinants of inequalities matter. According to the report, taxpayers are less likely to demand more redistribution if they believe that benefits are mistargeted, and they are less in favor of progressive taxation if they believe that corruption is widespread among public officials.

Until next week!


About the Author

Kitty Miv, Editor

Kitty was born in Argentina in 1960 to a Scottish cattle rancher and his Argentine wife. Educated in Edinburgh and at Princeton, Kitty worked for the World Bank as an economist, where she met and married an emigre Iranian banker. During her time with the Bank, Kitty worked in a number of emerging markets, including a spell in the ex-USSR as a Transition Economies Team Leader. Kitty is now a consultant in Brussels and has free-lance writing relationships with a number of prominent economic publications. kitty@lowtax.net


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