By Ralph Dillon, Global Financial Data: In Washington, they are examining how to close the loopholes that Americans have used to avoid paying taxes. Loopholes for individuals. Multinational corporations? Business as usual. Lobbyists rule. Here is what it looks like.
Entries in Taxation (38)
My beloved state of California, whose $2 trillion economy is the eight largest in the world ahead of Italy and Russia, has a new problem: it’s awash in cash. It’s projecting multi-billion dollar surpluses for years to come. The feeding frenzy in Sacramento is a sight to behold.
Not that 2013 was such a great year in Germany, economically speaking, with growth stalling at barely above the zero line. But it was a superb year for extracting taxes from hard-working people. And it shoved Germany deeper into two decades of retail quagmire.
"Insurrection" is showing up in the French media, though it's still more an exaggeration than a description. "Fiscal discontent” is better, but not broad enough. Now François Hollande, the most despised French President in the history of polls, is going to turn this mess around.
By Tim Parker, Benzinga Staff Writer: There’s bad news coming out of Ireland, but you’re not likely to feel too sorry for the victims. Ireland's Finance Minister Michael Noonan announced that he’d take steps to plug a loophole that lets multinational corporations have a presence in the country but not pay the 12.5% tax on money crossing its borders.
Great Start in Germany: Three Days After Election Victory, Merkel’s Party Breaks Campaign Promise Of “No Tax Hikes”
Germans pay a lot of taxes. The value added tax was raised to 19%. The state grabs 42% of any income above €52,882 and 45% above €250,731. There’s the church tax, solidarity tax, gasoline tax.... Not much is left over when a German is done paying taxes. So, during the campaign, Chancellor Merkel’s party pledged categorically not to raise taxes.
Contributed by Don Quijones: The first four items the G-8 dealt with was the need for governments to share information to “fight the scourge of tax evasion.” If only their primary targets were multinationals, banks, and hedge funds that pay a pitiful fraction of the taxes they owe in the countries they operate. But they’re going after the little guy.
Contributed by Chriss Street: Presidents Nixon and Clinton, embroiled in scandals, triangulated in favor of legislation considered vital by their opponents. President Obama, facing a blizzard of scandals, is likely to go down the same path and support conservative legislation that would reform corporate income tax and spur a renaissance in manufacturing.
Fed’s Fisher Hilariously Slams Fiscal-Policy Chaos, Slugs QE, And Throws In Funny Video Spoof of Congress
Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher is one of the funniest – and most disturbing – voices out there in the sea of equivocating central bankers. But this time, he outdid himself in the dreadfulness of his warning and the humor of his presentation.
Contributed by Don Quijones: As bank lending has dried up, Spain's government has barely lifted a finger to help struggling self-employed workers or small enterprises. Instead, it apparently made it its mission to make their working lives as difficult as possible by ramping up their tax burden to historic highs.
No one accused Apple of having violated US tax laws. The Senate hearings merely exposed how Apple is dodging income taxes by doing what multinationals do: taking advantage of handouts and loopholes that Congress hands them. Now it turns out that much of the discussion was based on a fairytale.
On paper, Apple has no reason to borrow. Last time it issued bonds was in 1996 when it flirted with bankruptcy and absolutely had to get its hands on some moolah. After Steve Jobs returned in 1997, Apple wisely stayed away from Wall Street and did its own thing. But that era is over. And a new era is dawning upon the icon: Wall-Street engineering.
Luxembourg, with a population of just over half a million, smaller even than the other speck in the Eurozone, Cyprus, ranks in the top three worldwide in per-capita GDP. In a Eurozone wealth survey, it had the highest average household wealth. Only Cyprus, a former off-shore banking center in the Eurozone, came close. Yet Luxembourg is threatened with ruin.
Austria would fight to maintain bank secrecy, declared uppity Finance Minster Maria Fekter. She is worried. After squashing Cyprus, gutting its offshore financial and money laundering center, and destroying its main resource, the EU has now trained its big guns on Austria and Luxembourg.
Contributed by Doug Casey, Chairman, Casey Research: "Another reason for having a second passport – certainly if you're an American – is that nobody anywhere in the world wants to open a bank account for you. It's a subtle and indirect form of exchange control that the US has already imposed."
Eurozone countries are falling like dominos. Next: Slovenia. But bailouts – by taxpayers in other countries – keep banks from collapsing, governments from defaulting, and investors from incurring well-deserved losses. In the US, President Obama’s budget, with its new taxes, is causing heart palpitations left and right. But how do countries really stack up?
“The government imposed the income tax burden in the first place,” said former California Republican legislator Tom Campbell about the process of filing tax returns. “So if it wants to make it easier, for heaven’s sake, why not?” But two companies that sell tax preparation software and services have been lobbying tooth and nail against making it easier—and won.
For corporate welfare queens that know how to leverage worldwide tax systems, France offers a free ride. But as the French government tries in a vain and desperate effort to make ends meet, it’s not only going after multinationals and their tax optimization schemes but also smaller companies that are gasping for air. Revenues from aggressive collections—“not far from blackmail,” an insider says—have jumped, one of the rare areas of growth in France.
Last year, the government extracted $1.1 trillion in taxes from us individual taxpayers. But now it will pay, along with the states, $429 million of our taxes to the coolest Silicon-Valley beauty queen: Facebook. In net tax refunds! Part of a vast package of juicy corporate welfare programs. Facebook isn’t just hogging our data; it’s gobbling up our money.
Prime Minister Ayrault himself presided over Monday’s meeting of the National Anti-Fraud Committee. “A first for a head of government,” he said at the press conference, to hammer home just how important this was. But he wasn’t worried about run-of-the-mill fraud that might fleece an old lady of her life savings. He was worried about people not paying their taxes. And he had a remedy.