White House promises to pursue beneficial ownership legislation

The White House has promised to introduce comprehensive legislation requiring the disclosure of beneficial ownership information. The promise is part of an action plan issued after last week’s G8 summit, at which the UK Prime Minister promoted the idea of national registries of beneficial ownership information to be available to tax agencies. Although all US…

Prest ruling has wide implications for family businesses

The recent Supreme Court judgment in Prest v Petrodel has prompted an avalanche of comment in the legal literature ‒ much of it on the implications for corporate rather than family law. The case was a matrimonial dispute between Nigerian businessman Michael Prest and his ex-wife, who sought to have the assets of Prest’s wholly owned offshore…

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…