Swiss parliament crushes government plan to protect banks

The Swiss parliament’s lower house has emphatically rejected the government’s proposed amendments to banking secrecy law. The proposals were intended to help Swiss banks escape being prosecuted by the US authorities for aiding tax evasion. Several are under pressure from the US Department of Justice (USDoJ) to name members of their staff, and associated third party…

Mexico applies to be first non-EU country in new international tax agreement

The Mexican finance ministry has submitted an application to become the first non-European member nation of a project to develop a new multilateral tax information exchange program following the model of the US’s Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). The Secretariat of Finance and Public Credit (Secretaría de Hacienda y Crédito Público, SHCP) has applied to be part of…

Renewed controversy over corporate tax planning

The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has published a report criticising ‘contrived’ tax avoidance schemes used by the multinational firm Google. Google has paid little UK corporation tax in recent years. It earned revenues of GBP11.4 billion in the UK during the five years 2006-2011, but paid only about GBP10 million in UK…

UK presses for beneficial ownership registries

The heads of Britain’s Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories are to produce national action plans on beneficial ownership registries. The leaders met UK Prime Minister David Cameron at Downing Street at the weekend, where he presented them with the demand ‒ softened by a promise that the UK and the G8 countries will do the…

Supreme Court divides corporate assets in matrimonial property case

The ex-wife of Michael Prest has won her financial remedy appeal to the UK Supreme Court. Prest is a Nigerian businessman whose considerable wealth was mostly generated from his oil trading businesses. Much of it is held in a group of companies (referred to collectively as Petrodel) of which he has sole ownership and control,…

UK tax summit may not get firm commitments from Overseas Territories

Divisions are appearing among British overseas financial centres regarding the UK’s insistence that they sign up to fully automatic disclosure of banking and beneficial ownership information. Last month UK Prime Minister David Cameron wrote to the heads of all Britain’s Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories, inviting them to a summit, at which they would be…

MOU relating to FATCA signed by US and Switzerland

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) regarding interpretations of the agreement under the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) has been signed by the United States and Switzerland. Signed in Washington at the end of last week by Mark Mazur, US Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy and Manuel Sager, Swiss Ambassador to the United States, the MOU details…

Mehjoo ruling alarms practitioners

Concern has spread through the wealth advisor and tax practitioner industry sectors following the High Court’s ruling in Mehjoo v Harben Barker. In the case, businessman Hossein Mehjoo was awarded GBP1.4 million in damages against his accountants, Harben Barker. They were found to have been professionally negligent by failing to tell him he could transfer his…

British IFCs offer compromise on mutual assistance

The chief ministers of Jersey, Guernsey, the Isle of Man and Gibraltar have written to the UK Prime Minister David Cameron offering to join the OECD’s Multilateral Convention on Mutual Assistance in Tax Matters. The UK government is currently pressing its dependencies to agree to fully automatic exchange of tax information. It is hosting a…

STEP BeNeLux Examines Financial Transaction Tax

At lunchtime today, STEP BeNeLux held an event at the Cercle Munster in Luxembourg-Grund at which Olivier Gaston-Braud, Counsel at Elvinger Hoss & Prussen, was guest speaker who addressed the topic of “The Financial Transaction Tax – Why should you be concerned?” in the presence of around 30 members. STEP is the Society of Estate…