EFTA State Aid Report Released

December 21, 2009 International Tax CooperationTaxation in EUTaxation in IcelandTaxation in LiechtensteinTaxation in Switzerland

EFTA Minesterial MeetingOn December 18th, 2009, the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) released the fourth report covering state aid granted in Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway, for the period between 2004 to the end of the 2008 year. The paper was prepared in co-operation with European Commission and includes comparisons with countries of the EU.

A total of €2,234.88 million was granted in state aid across the three surveyed countries in 2008, indicating an overall increase in grants across the countries. 98.9 percent of this amount was accounted for by aid granted by the Norwegian government.

The report shows that the primary contributions to the 2008 state aid increase were Norway’s tax relief schemes to the maritime sector and compensation to Norwegian farmers for pollution reductions...

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Australian 3rd Quarter GDP Rose 0.2%

December 18, 2009 Taxation in Australia

Financial crisis will hurt jobs, Swan warnsNations across the globe are facing a period of contracting GDP figures, though Australia has reported another quarter of continued growth. The latest Australian National Account release shows that the country’s GDP figure rose by 0.2 percent during the previous quarter.

On December 16th, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released the country’s National Account report for the September Quarter. The report figures show that the seasonally adjusted GDP figure rose by 0.2 percent compared to the June quarter, and 0.5 percent compared to the same quarter in 2008. The Australian Treasury estimates that the Government’s fiscal stimulus package added 0.4 percent to the September growth figure...

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Rush of Tax Treaties in December

December 17, 2009 International Tax CooperationTaxation in CanadaTaxation in ChinaTaxation in EUTaxation in FranceTaxation in GreeceTaxation in IrelandTaxation in NetherlandsTaxation in New ZealandTaxation in SingaporeTaxation in SwitzerlandTaxation in UK

UK/Malaysia Double Taxation Agreement protocol signingIncreasing fiscal transparency was an important issue in the economic and political spectrum of the 2009 year. With only a few weeks remaining in 2009, December happened to be one of the most active month of the passing year, with Governments around the globe completing efforts made in negotiations of Double Taxation Agreements (DTA) and Tax Information Exchange Agreements (TIEA).

In an unprecedented step, Switzerland wishes to cease ratification of its DTA with France in protest at the French authorities’ handling of account data stolen from HSBC in Geneva. On December 9th, Eric Woerth, French Budget Minister, confirmed that the French Government had paid €500 million to a former HSBC-Switzerland employee who provided them with details on 130,000 accounts...

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Chile Invited to be 31st OECD Member

December 16, 2009 International Tax CooperationTaxation in Chile

President of ChileOn December 15th, Chile was invited to become a member of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Chile will become the 31st member nation of the OECD, and only the second country in Latin America, after Mexico, being a member since 1994. In 2007 the OECD initiated accession negotiations with Chile, Estonia, Israel, the Russian Federation and Slovenia. So far, throughout the two years of negotiations and reviews by 20 OECD Committees, only Chile has fully met the organization’s requirements and standards, and modified the country’s legislations on tax information exchanges and corporate governance. Slovakia was the last member to be accepted into the OECD in 2001.

Announcing the OECD decision, Angel Gurría, OECD Secretary-General, said “…this is a place where Chil...

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Global Business Confidence is Improving

December 15, 2009 Taxation in ChinaTaxation in IndiaTaxation in UKTaxation in USA

Freefall Friday: $84b - worst day in 21 yearsThe world is still suffering from an economic slump, but confidence and business outlook across the globe is beginning to see a marked improvement.

According to research by international law firm Eversheds, published on December 14th, there is a resurgence in business confidence and future outlook across key global economic centres, and the Eastern markets are showing the most significant improvements. The report engaged 600 senior executives to show the effect of the economic downturn and its results on their confidence in London, New York, Shanghai, Mumbai and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The study reports that executives in Shanghai, UAE and Mumbai have highest levels of confidence for the next 12 months, though all respondents believe that New York will continue to be the most signi...

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