Yearly Archives 2012

Tax Cools Down the Housing Market in Taiwan

December 20, 2012 Taxation in Taiwan

Housing in TaiwanTAIPEI – The government of Taiwan has reached its goal of calming down the local investment housing market by imposing a luxury tax over the last two years.

With only a few weeks left until the end of the year, the Ministry of Finance of Taiwan has announced in a statement released on December 19th that over the course of 2012 the country’s tax on luxury items has had the intended effect on consumer behavior, reducing the chance of the country experiencing a further bubble in housing prices.

The tax, which was first enacted in July 2011, is aimed at discouraging taxpayers from purchasing houses as speculative investments, by imposing a 15 percent levy on the sale of all investment properties which have been held for less than one year, and a 10 percent tax charges on the sale of investment...

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HMRC Hotline Wastes Taxpayers’ Time, Money

December 18, 2012 Taxation in UK

2010.01.25: Phones Phones PhonesLONDON – Taxpayers in the UK are racking up millions of pounds in phone bills every year while waiting on hold to talk to the HMRC.

On December 18th the UK National Audit Office (NAO) released a new report into the effectiveness of the HM Revenue and Customs’ phone centers, concluding that the despite the recent efforts to improve customer service, the hotlines are overly costly to taxpayers and do not provide adequate levels of support.

In its evaluation of the HMRC’s performance the NAO found that over the course of the 2011 fiscal year only 74 percent of phone calls to the HMRC were answered, leaving more than 20 million calls to go unattended.

Taxpayers who called the HMRC in 2011 also had to wait an average of nearly 5 minutes before being able to speak to an HMRC staff member.


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Greece Misses Tax Targets

December 18, 2012 Taxation in Greece

Taxes in GreeceATHENS – Greece is struggling in its efforts to collect taxes, but there is still hope for the government that the situation could be righted in 2013.

The Task Force for Greece, which is charged with the responsibility to provide technical assistance to the government of Greece for the reform process in the country, published its third quarterly progress report on December 17th, detailing the national efforts to improve and help recover the economy.

The report showed that despite the government’s ongoing attempts to mend the country’s economic situation, the national tax authorities are not keeping up with their targets for the recovery of tax debts, with only EUR 983 million of unpaid taxes having been collected in 2012, well below the goal of EUR 2 billion.

Further, Greek tax authorities...

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Japan Waits for Decision on Sales Tax

December 17, 2012 Taxation in Japan

Tax on SalesTOKYO – Japanese taxpayers will have to wait until next year to find out if they will see their sales taxes go up over the next few years.

In a television interview conducted on December 16th the newly elected Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe commented on the feasibility of raising the country’s sales tax rate, saying that no decision can be made on the matter until August next year.

Shinzo Abe explained that in order to make a decision on whether Japan can bear the burden of an increase to the sales tax, more information will be needed on the current state of the economy, and further indication will be required on whether the country will see revived economic growth in the new year.

The proposed hikes to sales tax has been debated in Japan for over a year, and were eventually passed in ...

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Taxes Can Improve Consumer Health

December 14, 2012 International Tax CooperationTaxation in New Zealand

Healthy FoodsAUCKLAND – Imposing taxes on sugary drinks and offering subsides on the purchase of fruits could lead to an improvement in the health of consumers across the world, especially amongst low income individuals.  

A new study released earlier this week by researchers from the University of Otago and the University of Auckland in New Zealand shows that raising taxes on un-healthy foods and providing subsidies on nutritious products would decrease consumption of saturated fats, increase the intake of nutrients from fruits and vegetables, and decrease the effects and spread of non-communicable diseases such as diabetes.

The report, which was based on data collected from 32 high income countries, showed that increasing prices on high-sugar products would have a overwhelmingly positive effect on t...

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