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  • Risk Free Investing is a Joke. What Does This Mean for your Entitlements?

    Risk Free Investing is a Joke. What Does This Mean for your Entitlements?

    Freemont Group

    02 Apr, 2013

    For decades The Western world has been blessed with stability and growth. Those under 30 had never experienced a real crisis in their life. This has given us a false sense of security.

    The current situation shows that not all is what we thought it to be. This article will explain why a lot of people pay a heavy price for the current developments…
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  • These Taxes are Usually Self-Defeating

    These Taxes are Usually Self-Defeating

    Kitty Miv, Editor

    14 Mar, 2013

    Better late than never, the Philippines has abandoned its Common Carrier Tax, which has been crucifying the country's tourist industry. Airlines will start flying again to the Philippines, and the Government will make much more from visitors' purchases than it does from CCT, which has been reaping less and less as airlines simply crossed Manila off their schedules. Lots of countries tax air travel, under the pretence of saving the environment, and these taxes are usually self-defeating. Island nations calculate that people will have to pay the tax because they can't swim to an adjoining country to catch their planes, but people can and do take short hop flights to a hub which doesn't tax their long-haul flights; or in the case of the UK, they catch the Eurostar to Paris and fly from there.
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  • Lots of Burrowing Around in Transfer Pricing Regulations

    Lots of Burrowing Around in Transfer Pricing Regulations

    Kitty Miv, Editor

    28 Feb, 2013

    Brazil is one of those countries which fiddles constantly with taxes in a protectionist way, tries to manage its exchange rate, and generally behaves badly in my book, so it's good to be able to welcome a tax concession aimed at improving connectivity. But then they would have to go and stipulate that 50% of any equipment installed must be sourced locally, so only half a cheer. Then you wonder, at least I would if I was a foreign supplier of modems, say, how to get around that rule. There is bribery, of course, but you're not allowed to talk about that unless you're Silvio Berlusconi; so the next thing might be to try to interpret the "sourced locally" wording. What does that actually mean? A certificate issued by the local fisc? Then what if you have assembled the modems locally from cheap bought-in components, it would depend on how much value you could attribute to the local process.
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  • Covered in so Many Brass Plates you Can't See What it's Made of Underneath

    Covered in so Many Brass Plates you Can't See What it's Made of Underneath

    Kitty Miv, Editor

    14 Feb, 2013

    Mention Ugland House on Capitol Hill and they probably whisk you off for interrogation; this is the famed building in Cayman covered in so many brass plates you can't see what it's made of underneath - gold bars probably. So opening a company in the Cayman Islands capital, George Town, is easy, right? You just sit down with your nominee director in the cafe opposite with two rum punches, he brings out a ready-filled certificate of incorporation, you sign it, and that's it. Oh, and you give him a gold bar, of course, to add to the 18,867 he's already got. Not a bit of it! The Cayman business community is agonizing over the level of government bureaucracy and red tape, and the new Prime Minister is promising to do something about it.
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  • Why don't Jersey and Guernsey quit the UK?

    Why don't Jersey and Guernsey quit the UK?

    Kitty Miv, Editor

    20 Dec, 2012

    Full marks to Channel Islands Jersey and Guernsey for standing up to the UK's bullying over FATCA, and by the same token, a black mark to the UK. The UK Treasury regards the UK's offshore dependencies (Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man) as so many little puppy dogs to be ordered around at its convenience, despite frequent reports showing that they provide tens of billions of pounds' worth of benefit to the mainland every year through tax-efficient investment which would otherwise flow to Hong Kong or elsewhere in the world. The UK shows no gratitude or recognition whatsoever, on the contrary, punishing the islands whenever it can.
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  • The Gipper is smiling knowingly from his cloud

    The Gipper is smiling knowingly from his cloud

    Kitty Miv, Editor

    06 Dec, 2012

    Back on the "less is more" theme, there is another proof of it this week in Austria, which has increased its corporate tax take by 20% after cutting the tax rate by 30%. The Gipper is smiling knowingly at this from his cloud, although his successors on the Hill don't seem to have learnt the lesson, and most governments find it just too counter-intuitive to be possible. Companies are run by people, and many of their shareholders are people too: people are humans and suffer or benefit from human nature, usually both at once, and human nature is to resent being over-taxed.
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  • The opposite of open-ness is protectionism

    The opposite of open-ness is protectionism

    Kitty Miv, Editor

    29 Nov, 2012

    This column hasn't got much time for the IMF, which seems to spend most of its life telling governments to increase taxes, but just for once I have to agree with its glowing report on Panama, although why does the IMF carp about Panama's open-ness to other economies? The opposite of open-ness is protectionism, don't they realize? At all events, Panama seems to be getting everything right nowadays. You may say that it has the immense advantage of the canal, economically, and that's true, but it could so easily have gone the other way: twenty years ago or so Panama had the biggest collection of crooked banks to be found anywhere, had a booming drugs trade, and a President who ended up in American and French gaols.
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  • Why is it that governments hate speculators?

    Why is it that governments hate speculators?

    Kitty Miv, Editor

    22 Nov, 2012

    How often does an EU bail-out country reduce taxes these days? That's right: it's unheard of. Well, Ireland hasn't exactly reduced taxes, but it has done the next best thing, which is to defer them for small companies by reducing filing frequency, which gives a cash-flow advantage to the companies and a corresponding disadvantage to the Revenue. Although you do wonder if it may not be self-serving - perhaps it costs more to process all those reams of monthly and quarterly returns than the cash-flow advantage gained on myriads of tiny payments. Then, refunds will be later as well. It would be an intricate calculation; but I won't take back the award - they deserve it just for reducing the amount of form-filling and bureaucracy.
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  • In taxation less is more

    In taxation less is more

    Kitty Miv, Editor

    15 Nov, 2012

    Taiwan is hoping to bring in an extra half a billion dollars (sounds good, but it's only USD17m) by reducing a transaction tax on some obscure type of stock market instrument. Have you heard of risk-hedging warrants? No, nor have I; but what's important is they seem to have cottoned onto the (correct) idea that in taxation less is more, ie that there is a level of tax which people will happily pay rather than going to the trouble of getting out of it through some contrivance or other. In this case perhaps there are untaxed risk-hedging warrants in Singapore, or maybe the tax makes it not worth your while to hedge the risk at all. Evidently the equation of less = more only works up to a point: the step from some to no tax is not successful!
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  • France and Germany are going to pick up the tab

    France and Germany are going to pick up the tab

    Kitty Miv, Editor

    08 Nov, 2012

    Through the dense fog of partisanship and a divided legislature, it's sometimes difficult to be sure what's going on in (wait for it, you thought I was going to talk about the US, right?) Germany (ha, ha, gotcha!) but it does seem that the government is both running a reasonably tight ship, debt-wise, even after paying its contribution to one or more of those European funds for saving southern member states from the consequences of their fiscal follies, and actually managing at the same time to abolish an unpopular tax without, apparently, introducing a new one.
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