HMRC publishes guidance on non-deductable estate debts

HMRC has published guidance on s176 of the Finance Act 2013, which prevents executors deducting certain liabilities of an estate from its taxable value. The surprise measure was introduced in the Finance Bill 2013 without prior consultation. The liabilities affected are, briefly, debts incurred by the deceased in order to purchase inheritance tax (IHT)-exempt assets; and debts that…

Trustees must act quickly to address French blacklisting

ersey, Bermuda and the British Virgin Islands (BVI) trustees and company directors with French investments or French shareholders and beneficiaries must make haste to review their position, following France’s addition of the three jurisdictions to its list of uncooperative countries. The blacklisting was decreed without warning on 21 August, under powers contained in Article 238-0…

Swiss bankers admit responsibility for reputational damage

The Swiss banking industry has made a frank apology for its past actions in helping international clients evade taxes. The last few months have seen at least 14 of the leading banks facing possible prosecution by the US Department of Justice (USDoJ). Some 100 other banks are begging the Swiss government for permission to pay enormous penalties…

Swiss banks must submit to ‘painful’ US demands

Swiss banks hoping to escape prosecution in the US will have to pay between 20 and 50 per cent of the untaxed American assets they held between 2008 and the end of this year, under an agreement published at the end of last week. The agreement allows most banks to negotiate their own non-prosecution deals…

Supreme Court ruling has major implications for practitioners with LGBT clients

The US Supreme Court ruled that Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional on June 26, paving the way for the federal recognition of marriages between same-sex couples. The tax planning implications that will arise as a result of this ruling are far-reaching – immediately after the Court’s decision, President…

Swiss banks’ guarantees to UK government may have been too generous

Data collected by Swiss banks from their UK clients suggest that the UK-Swiss tax regularisation agreement may reveal far less untaxed income than the UK government has claimed. The agreement ‒ signed in its final form in April 2012 ‒ gave UK clients until the end of May this year to decide how to regularise…

Brazil pushing for wealth tax to address protest issues

The Brazilian government is moving to revive a proposal that will impose a new tax on the nation’s wealthiest people. The ruling Workers’ Party – known as the PT – has said that the proceeds of the tax are needed to pay for measures demanded by the protestors that have angrily taken to Brazil’s streets…

Cyprus’s financial sector still needs drastic reform, says commission

An expert commission appointed by Cyprus’s central bank has concluded that its financial centre can only survive if it is reformed to be less dependent on tax breaks for clients in particular countries, with strictly and visibly enforced anti-money laundering controls. The Independent Commission on the Future of the Cyprus Banking Sector (ICFCBS) was set…

Belgium imposes trust reporting obligations

On 30 July 2013 a new Belgian law introduced reporting requirements for legal constructions set up by resident private persons. The scope of the law covers foreign trusts, foundations, companies and partnerships, including the Anstalt in Liechtenstein and Bahamas limited corporations, which are explicitly mentioned in the legislation. But the law applies to a much…

HMRC to introduce further disclosure requirements for tax advisors

The government is proposing to force ‘high-risk’ tax-planning promoters to report their schemes to HM Revenue & Customs even before launching them. Legislation outlined in a consultation document published today aims to ‘make it significantly harder to market avoidance’. It seeks to ‘publicly identify high-risk promoters of avoidance schemes and isolate them from reputable mainstream…