Swiss Suspend Tax Talks with Italy

November 5, 2009 International Tax CooperationOffshore BankingTaxation in ItalyTaxation in Switzerland  No comments

The Swiss Government has put a halt on Double Taxation Agreement (DTA) procedures with Italy.

Following Italy’s raid on Swiss banks located in Italy, the Swiss government announced on November 1st that it has suspended its negotiations regarding their DTA with Italy. In retaliation, Giulio Tremonti, Italy’s Finance Minister, threatened to “dry out” Lugano, Switzerland’s most prominent financial center after Zurich and Geneva.

Hans-Rudolf Merz, Swiss President and Finance Minister, said “The accord was ready for ratification from our side. But now the negotiations are being suspended until further notice”. Though no direct confirmation has been given, negotiations are not expected to be reinstated until the commencement of Italy’s current tax amnesty.

Further, Hans-Rudolf Merz, descri...

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Westpac NZ to Appeal Tax Decision

November 4, 2009 Taxation in New Zealand  No comments

The New Zealand branch of Westpac Banking Corp has revealed its intention to appeal the New Zealand High Court’s decision on the bank’s tax assessment.

Last month Westpac had challenged an amended assessment of their tax information by the Inland Revenue Department. The New Zealand High Court had decided to dismiss the challenge, leaving Westpac liable for NZ$586 million in unpaid taxes and a possible NZ$332 in interest. George Frazis, Westpac NZ Chief Executive, said, regarding the appeal decision “In our view there are sound arguments that warrant an appeal of the High Court’s decision. We consider those arguments are of sufficient merit to justify consideration by the NZ Court of Appeal”.

The IRD’s assessment amendment of Westpac revolves around a series of structured financing trans...

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Dutch Government Recieves Tax Tip

November 3, 2009 Offshore BankingTax HavensTaxation in Netherlands  No comments

The Dutch Government has received a list containing information on nationals evading taxes with offshore bank accounts.

Jan Kees de Jager, Dutch Deputy Finance Minister, confirmed on October 31st that the Netherland’s Government had signed an agreement which delivers a list of names, account numbers and addresses of several hundred tax evaders, or “black savers” as dubbed by the Dutch government.

According to the Deputy Finance Minister, negotiations with the informant were initiated earlier this year, with an agreement being signed on September 16th. Reliability of the information has already been tested and the legal basis for utilizing the data has already been approved by government lawyers...

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UK Increases Flight Taxes

November 2, 2009 Taxation in UK  No comments

The Air Passenger Duties (APD) faced by UK fliers has risen, with some seats seeing a charge of £110 at departure.

Much to the uproar of the air travel industry, departure duties faced by UK travelers increased on the 1st of November. The distance banding system and the travel class system which were used to determine the APD levy have also been expanded, allowing for a wider range in determining the exact levy liability of each passenger.

The new APD system will determine duties charged on a seat by judging whether it is in the lowest passenger class or what the government has deemed as “other”, and also by dividing flights into one of the four pre-determined distance bands. Flight distance is calculated as the mileage between London and the capital of the destination country.

Dest...

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Swiss Banks in Italy Raided

October 30, 2009 Offshore BankingOffshore TaxationTaxation in ItalyTaxation in Switzerland  No comments

The Italian branches of Swiss banks were raided by the Guardia di Finanza on October 30th.

According to Italian authorities, the operation was aimed at ensuring that all relevant taxation data was being provided by Swiss banks to the Italian tax authorities. In total, 76 branches were visited across northern Italy by the Italian Financial Police, Guardia di Finanza, and tax inspectors from the Agenzia delle Entrate, Italy’s Inland Revenue Services equivalent.

While no banks opted to comment on the raids, the Swiss government summoned an Italian ambassador on the same day to justify the action...

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