Japan Releases Annual Tax Guidelines

December 23, 2009 Taxation in Japan

Yukio Hatoyama, Japan's next leaderOn December 22nd, the Japanese Government revealed its tax reform plan for the fiscal year beginning April 1st, 2010.

The newly published tax guidelines are aimed at decreasing Japan’s public debt figure, which is currently at an approximated 180 percent of GDP. In order to achieve the goal, the tax plan will attempt to support Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama’s earlier announced intentions of maintaining Japanese Government Bond issuance at JPY44 trillion (USD483 billion).

The most controversial announcement of the tax reform is replacing surcharges on gasoline sales with a tax charged at the same rate. The move comes contrary to Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama’s election campaign where he promised to abolish the gasoline levy...

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Less Salaries Frozen

December 22, 2009 Taxation in USA

Coin StacksAccording to the latest survey, the number of corporations and organizations in the USA freezing salaries in 2009 has declined compared to 2008.

The Mercer’s 2009/2010 US Compensation Planning Survey Update, released December 21st, shows that in the suffering economic conditions 30 percent of employers froze salaries, but only 14 percent planned to continue to hold earnings in 2010. The report indicates that average pay rises of 3.2 percent were seen in 2009, and the planned pay increases for 2010 are expected to be 2.7 percent.

Variation by market group shows the biggest pay rises in 2009 were in the energy industry (3.4 percent) and service industries (3.2 percent)...

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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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