Category: Scotland

UK beneficial ownership vote alarms Overseas Territories; financial services vital for several islands

A vote by the UK parliament to insist that Britain’s Overseas Territories introduce publicly available beneficial ownership registers by December 31, 2020, has sparked anger and dismay within these autonomous, mainly small island, jurisdictions. An amendment to a UK Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill requires the British government to impose… – Continue reading

OECD recommends introduction of US-style deferred prosecution agreements in Scotland

ANALYSIS: US-style deferred prosecution agreements (DPAs) should be introduced in Scotland to deal with corporate offending, according to a recent report by the global Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Foreign bribery should attract significant penalties, and Scotland’s civil settlement regime is potentially too lenient, according to the report,… – Continue reading

Scots tax haven firm offers to help French avoid tax and social security

SCOTLAND is being used as a virtual base to help French nationals avoid tax and social security payments. An online agency – registered to a Glasgow shell firm – is offering a range of “offshore solutions” for those who want “zero per cent tax” and “complete confidentiality”. The company –… – Continue reading

France’s honest tax system crusader convicted for hiding millions of euros

Jérôme Cahuzac, appointed by Hollande to lead clampdown on wealthy avoiders, hid cash in a secret Swiss account for 20 years Jérôme Cahuzac, the minister who led François Hollande’s drive for a more honest tax system, has been sentenced to three years in prison for tax fraud and secretly stashing… – Continue reading

SNP MP warns that tax office cuts will lead to an increase in the gap between the rich and poor

TAX office closures will lead to a surge in the gap between rich and the poor and an increase in tax avoidance as well as people not being paid the minimum wage, the UK Government has been warned. Under controversial HMRC plans 18 Scottish offices, including major centres in Dundee,… – Continue reading

McDonald’s UK pays £123m in royalties to Luxembourg

The British arm of McDonald’s paid £123m for “franchise rights” last year, as part of a controversial structure that is under investigation for enabling unfair tax avoidance. The European Commission launched a probe last year into whether Luxembourg’s tax arrangements for McDonald’s amounted to illegal state aid, as part of… – Continue reading

Wales to switch to Land Transaction Tax

Wales is to replace stamp duty with a land transaction tax as it moves towards devolved tax collection. The new tax on land transactions will be introduced from April 2018 alongside measures to tackle devolved tax avoidance, the Welsh government said. Land transaction tax is paid on the purchase or… – Continue reading

Scotland formally calls on UK to close “tax haven” loophole

SCOTLAND has formally called on the UK to close a legal loophole that allows Scottish firms to be used as secret offshore tax shelters. Holyrood politicians have been demanding action on Scotland’s limited partnerships (SLPs) ever since some of the unique corporate arrangements were exposed as Eastern European money-laundering vehicles… – Continue reading

Oxfam in call for crackdown to combat money launderers using Scottish shell firms

OXFAM has called for action to close a legal loophole that has seen a booming number of Scottish shell firms used for tax dodging and money laundering. The global charity warned that the country was becoming one of the world’s “secret tax havens where the privileged minority hide billions from… – Continue reading

What Brexit is Likely to Mean for Taxes, Trade and More

Regardless of whether you were surprised, overjoyed, dismayed or showed any other emotion (perhaps anger as you saw world markets tank), Brexit is here. Yes, we’re talking about the British exit from the European Union. We are not sure why the media coined the term “Brexit,” when it’s not only… – Continue reading

Tax haven firms cashing in on Scotland’s PFI scandal

COMPANIES profiting from schools and hospitals built under private finance initiatives in Scotland are based in tax havens such as Jersey and Guernsey. An analysis carried out by the Sunday Herald has revealed numerous examples of PFI projects in Scotland which have owners based offshore. The owners include an offshoot… – Continue reading

David Cameron’s finances touched a nerve – tax openness is the answer

Nearly half of people say the Prime Minister’s handling of his finances was ‘morally repugnant’, according to our opinion poll, and they support public tax returns for all As the fallout from the fallout from the Panama Papers leak begins to settle, the Prime Minister is left contemplating the damage… – Continue reading

Scottish residents will be blocked from dodging higher taxes, HMRC says

Is there a serious risk that Scotland’s tax revenues would be hit hard by people fleeing south to avoid the new top rates of tax advocated by Labour or the Scottish Greens? HM Revenue & Customs is not convinced that there is. With a new Scottish rate of income tax… – Continue reading

UK Tax Technicians Slam SDLT Surcharge

The Association of Tax Technicians (ATT) has expressed its disappointment that the UK Government intends to press ahead with plans to introduce a stamp duty land tax (SDLT) surcharge on purchases of second homes from April 1. Higher rates of SDLT will apply to purchases in England, Wales, and Northern… – Continue reading

Tax haven Scotland: Government blocks move to end offshore land ownership

Ban on tax haven land rejected in favour of ‘transparency register’ PROPOSALS TO OUTLAW the ownership of land in offshore tax havens were rejected by the Scottish Parliament today [Wednesday 16 March] on the basis of private legal advice. Estimates that 750,000 acres of Scotland are owned in tax havens… – Continue reading

Tax competition – that would be something to thank the Scots for

A 30% tax bracket. A rise in the standard rate, with a rebate for lower earners. Higher taxes all round to finance more spending. In Scotland, ahead of May’s elections for the devolved parliament, a fascinating debate on tax and spending is under way, with the main parties setting out… – Continue reading

The ‘extraordinary’ loophole that saw Russia threaten to brand UK as tax haven

Russia has come close to blacklisting the UK as a tax haven as concerns grow over Scotland’s booming offshore business. The Kremlin’s Finance Ministry had announced that it would officially equate Britain with traditional “fiscal paradises” like Panama, the British Virgin Islands and the Caymans. Such a humiliating move would… – Continue reading

UK government urged to end “unfair” colonial-era tax treaty with Malawi

THE UK Government is being urged to end a colonial-era tax treaty with Malawi which campaigners say is depriving the one of the world’s poorest countries of vital resources. Under an agreement dating back to 1955, it is possible for UK companies operating in the south-east African country to pay… – Continue reading

Scotland advertised across Eastern Europe as tax haven

SCOTLAND is being advertised as a tax haven across Eastern Europe. The country’s allegedly lax company formation laws are being promoted by firms in Latvia, Russia, Ukraine and Belarus as authorities black list more traditional “fiscal paradises”. A new round of publicity for Scotland as an “offshore zone” began this… – Continue reading

French Tax Update – Recent Case Law and Other Noteworthy Publications

The present French Tax Update will focus on an overview of several noteworthy publications, including decisions issued during the past few months by the French Administrative Supreme Court (Conseil d’Etat) and French Constitutional Court (Conseil Constitutionnel), as well as the European Commission decision in respect of the Belgian Excess Profit… – Continue reading

.@ScotGov refuses to reinstate central land reform proposal

Despite popular campaign and committee recommendations, tax haven restrictions will not be included in bill AN OVERDUE land reform report from the Scottish Government has categorically refused to bring back a proposal which campaigners say would have tackled the phenomenon of Scottish land being owned in offshore tax havens. Dropped… – Continue reading

HMRC hails success of tax avoidance clampdown on UK banks

HMRC said the amount of money in tax avoidance schemes has fallen from £3.2bn in 2013 to £1bn All but two UK-registered banks have signed up to a Government scheme encouraging lenders to avoid using tax avoidance schemes. Some 303 lenders, including banks and building societies, have now signed up… – Continue reading

How Connery’s wife could be jailed over a £5.5m fraud: A luxury villa in the sun, a ruthless Mafioso mayor – and a plot as colourful as any Bond film. DAVID JONES investigates

While the latest Bond movie, Spectre, brings glowing praise for Daniel Craig, life is running rather less smoothly for the prototype 007. In truth, Sir Sean Connery’s personal story has never remotely resembled that of the unruffled agent he so consummately portrayed. Down the years, he has faced a plethora… – Continue reading

Company which owns Queen’s jeweller Mappin & Webb ‘has paid no corporation tax for five years despite £66million profits’

The company that owns the Queen‘s jeweller Mappin & Webb has paid no corporation tax for five years – despite profits of £66million. The allegations made against Mappin & Webb owners Aurum Holdings came as the conduct of firms holding royal warrants was scrutinised amid revelations about their tax arrangements…. – Continue reading

Charlotte Barbour: The drive to decentralise taxes

The House of Lords has recently criticised the speed of further devolution of powers to Scotland, but nevertheless the Scotland Bill is progressing through the UK parliament. Devolution more widely across the UK is a direction of travel in this Chancellor’s Autumn Statement. Among the announcements, George Osborne said that… – Continue reading

Northern Ireland’s 12.5pc corporate tax rate will pose threat to foreign direct investment in the South

The North will have its own 12.5pc corporate tax rate from 2018. This means that it will compete harder against the Republic for FDI projects, writes Dan White The 12.5pc company tax rate will no longer be confined to the southern part of the island. Last week’s ‘Fresh Start’ agreement… – Continue reading

Offshore land ownership secrecy blocks police investigation into wildlife crime

Ownership of Kildrummy Estate creates legal block for police investigators POLICE INVESTIGATIONS into wildlife crime failed in the face of a bureaucratic nightmare identifying the landowner behind a complex structure of offshore land secrecy. The conviction of gamekeeper George Mutch for wildlife crimes committed in 2012 on Kildrummy Estate opened… – Continue reading

The Offshore Wrapper: a week in tax justice #71

Now that’s what I call a Big Tax Case A long running court case that has become known as the ‘Big Tax Case’ appears to be reaching a conclusion. It involves Scottish football club Rangers, who went bust in 2012. After it failed, a new company was created. It bought… – Continue reading

Michael Gray: The UK’s tax avoidance scandal is a sorry tale

DID you hear the story about the Queen, tax evasion, a nationalised British bank for the rich and famous, a whistleblower and a £7bn under sale to ‘reward cronies and cheat the taxpayer’? Sounds like a pretty big deal, right? But last Thursday’s damning testimony from Helen Goodman MP –… – Continue reading

UAE’s largest lender buys RBS offshore loan book in India

National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD), the largest lender by assets in the United Arab Emirates, bought Royal Bank of Scotland’s offshore loan book in India for 3 billion dirhams ($816.8 million) in October, the bank’s chief executive Alex Thursby said in a conference call on Wednesday. The bank is… – Continue reading

Record View: Amazon morally obliged to pay up their share of tax

WHEN public spending is being slashed in a way that punishes the poor, every firm have a moral obligation to pay their fair share. AMAZON are taking an ever bigger share of the shopping market. Technological advances mean you can order something from their website late at night from your… – Continue reading

Political courage needed on tackling inequality

Government must make good on its vows, says Jamie Livingstone In less than two weeks, leaders from 193 states will meet at the United Nations in New York to formally adopt, in effect, a new plan to fight extreme poverty, tackle inequality and end hunger. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)… – Continue reading

Campaign demands fairer land ownership

A CAMPAIGN questioning the “fairness” of land ownership launched across Scotland yesterday. Our Land is a month-long initiative created by Common Weal, Women for Independence and land reform campaigners Andy Wightman and Lesley Riddoch and aims to highlight problems caused by a land ownership system that “allows a handful of… – Continue reading

Thousands of pieces of Scottish land owned by offshore companies

THOUSANDS of pieces of land across Scotland have been snapped up by huge offshore companies – many of which are based in the world’s biggest tax havens. The revelation has prompted fears that firms owning Scottish land are dodging taxes, or even acting as fronts for laundering money. In total… – Continue reading

New Scotland bill – tax implications

The UK Government has published draft legislation on devolving certain tax matters to Scotland (the Bill). It intends that the draft legislation should implement the terms of the devolution agreement made in November 2014 between the Westminster and Holyrood governments. Having looked over the Bill, it appears that the Scottish… – Continue reading