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By Peter Campbell for the Daily Mail

Published: 01:17 EST, 20 October 2014 | Updated: 01:35 EST, 20 October 2014

The campaign to make corporations tax affairs more transparent has received a boost after a FTSE 100 firm vowed to be completely open about its finances.

Energy giant SSE will today become the first big company in Britain to qualify for the Fair Tax Mark, which was launched earlier this year to encourage firms to disclose whether they use tax havens or avoidance schemes.

The company paid 430m of corporation tax in the UK last year. SSE boss Alistair Phillips-Davies said the company has a responsibility to contribute to the societies in which it operates.

Boost:Energy giant SSE will become the first big company in Britain to qualify for the Fair Tax Mark

He added the firm seeks to pay the right amount of corporation tax at the right time, in the right place and explain how it does it.

Richard Murphy, director at the Fair Tax Mark, said: Today is a major breakthrough for the campaign for responsible tax behaviour. Corporation tax avoidance costs the UK economy billions a year money needed to support vital health, education and social security services in this country.

Energy companies tend to incur big tax bills.

Centrica, the owner of British Gas, is one of the largest tax-contributing companies in the UK, and last year paid more than 1bn to HMRC.

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Campaign to make corporations' tax affairs more transparent receives boost after SSE vows to be completely open about …

Finally, when it comes to the tax affairs of large corporations, a good news story.

SSE called Scottish & Southern Energy, previously is the first firm, in the FTSE 100, to receive a Fair Tax Mark. The company which has 9 million customers – has promised to be transparent about its corporation tax payments and to avoid both tax havens and tax avoidance schemes. Companies are allowed to take advantage of legitimate tax breaks but transparency is demanded.

MP, Margaret Hodge, is in favour of the Fair Tax Mark, Too often companies hide behind commercial confidentiality to disguise their activities, claiming that transparency about their tax affairs would damage their competitiveness. I dont buy that, and the public dont buy that. SSE clearly feels it has nothing to fear and potentially a lot to gain from responding to public demands for greater openness. There is no excuse for other companies not to do the same, and make this new standard in transparency the norm, not the exception.

Chief executive of SSE, Alistair Phillips-Davies, said: As a provider of an essential service SSE firmly believes it has a responsibility to contribute to the societies in which it operates. Paying the appropriate amount of tax is core to this; and we are determined to abide by both the spirit and letter of the UKs tax regulations.

The awarding of a Fair Tax Mark will come as positive PR material for SSE. The firm was fined by Ofgem last year to the tune of 10.5 million – for misleading customers.

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The Fair Tax Mark a first for a FTSE 100

The energy company has published retrospective accounts and pledges to stay away from tax havens Energy companySSEhas become the first FTSE 100 business to be awarded the Fair Tax Mark , a scheme that aims to hold companies to account over their tax affairs. SSE, which has nine million customers, has published retrospective accounts showing how much corporation tax it pays alongside pledges to …

Originally posted here:
SSE becomes first FTSE 100 company to be awarded Fair Tax Mark

US pharmaceutical company AbbVie said it was reconsidering its $55-billion takeover of Shire in the wake of US government moves to curb deals designed to cut tax, wiping $13 billion off the London-listed firm’s stock price.

Chicago-based AbbVie said late on Tuesday it was responding to the US proposals which aim to make it harder for American firms to shift their tax bases out of the US and into lower cost jurisdictions in Europe. AbbVie’s move for Shire, a leader in drugs to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and rare diseases, was announced in July amid a spate of similar takeover deals within the US and European pharmaceutical sector.

It proposed creating a new US-listed holding company with a tax domicile in Britain, which applies low tax rates to patent income and has passed laws that make it easy for companies to shift profits into tax havens.

The news hammered shares in Shire, sending them down 27 per cent, back to where they were before the deal talks emerged in June.

Shares in larger rival AstraZeneca, which had rebuffed its own takeover deal by US group Pfizer fell four per cent while replacement knees and hips maker Smith & Nephew, which had also been touted as a target, slipped three per cent.

AbbVie’s move wrongfooted Shire investors, coming just weeks after AbbVie chief executive Richard Gonzalez, in the wake of the Treasury proposals, told employees of both companies he was “more energised than ever” about the deal.

Also tax advisers had said the Treasury measures were unlikely to significantly impact most inversion deals.

Although the new rules will make some deals costlier and others more difficult, fast-food chain Burger King Worldwide Inc said it will proceed with its $11.5 billion transaction with Canada’s Tim Hortons.

Gonzalez had said Shire’s appeal stretched far beyond its tax domicile, pointing to its portfolio of drugs, some of which command prices of hundreds of thousands of pounds for an annual course of treatment, and its pipeline.

Buying Shire would reduce AbbVie’s reliance on its Humira drug, the world’s top selling arthritis medicine which loses US patent protection in 2016.

Read more from the original source:
AbbVie reconsiders $55-bn Shire deal after US tax changes

New Delhi, Oct 17 (IANS) The central government Friday told the Supreme Court that it could not disclose the names, received from foreign governments, of people who have allegedly stashed away their ill-gotten money to tax havens, as it was bound by the confidentiality clause under the double taxation avoidance agreement.

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Can't reveal names of account holders in tax havens, government to SC

New Delhi, Oct 17 (IANS) The Narendra Modi government's submission in the Supreme Court Friday that it cannot disclose names, received from foreign governments, of people who have allegedly stashed away their ill-gotten money in tax havens abroad triggered a war of words between the Congress and BJP.

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Political duel after government says can't name tax haven account holders

The central government Friday told the Supreme Court that it could not disclose the names, received from foreign governments, of people who have allegedly stashed away their ill-gotten money to tax havens, as it was bound by the confidentiality clause under the double taxation avoidance agreement.

Its stand was made in an application seeking modification of an earlier court order asking it to disclose the names all such people it had received from German government to the petitioner Ram Jethmalani.

Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi mentioned the application for an urgent hearing before the a bench of Chief Justice H.L.Dattu, Justice Madan B. Lokur and Justice A.K.Sikri.

The government has said that the names of such account holders against whom the prosecution has been launched could be disclosed as they are in public domain but in case of others, it was bound by the confidentiality clause.A

The government has said that such disclosures would be counter productive for get information on black money stashed away in tax havens as foreign governments would not share such information in future.

The court had Aug 20 directed the central government to give Jethmalani details of the account holders in banks of Liechtenstein that were submitted to the court on May 1. The court’s order came as senior counsel Anil Divan told the court that government had given him the names of 18 people against whom prosecution has been launched but held back the names of eight people.

However, senior counsel Ram Jethmalani, the petitioner in the plea seeking steps to bring back the black money stashed away to tax havens, assailed the government position saying that it could be position of people involved in taking ill-gotten money to tax havens and not that of the government.

Jethmalani Friday told the court that he had written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the issue.

The apex court by its July 4, 2011 order had set up the SIT which was mandated to undertake the investigations into the unaccounted money stashed away outside the country in tax havens and foreign banks and take steps to bring it back.

The SIT comprises the revenue secretary, the deputy governor of the Reserve Bank of India, the director of the Intelligence Bureau, the director, enforcement directorate, the director, of the Central Bureau of Investigation, the chairman of the Central Board of Direct Taxes, the director general of the Narcotics Control Bureau, director general, Revenue Intelligence, director, Financial Intelligence Unit, and Joint Secretary, (FT & TR-I) in the CBDT. The court had said that SIT would also include director, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW).

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Can't reveal names of account holders in tax havens, government to Supreme Court

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan announced the ending of the so-called double Irish tax structure. Photograph: Alan Betson

The international movement against aggressive tax planning by multinationals, which saw the Government this week announce the closing of a tax structure used by Google, Facebook and others, holds significant opportunties for Ireland, according to research by the Department of Finance.

The research concludes that the practice by multinationals of directing large amounts of their turnover to offshore tax havens where their intellectual property resides is set to come under ever greater pressure.

This in turn will prompt multinationals to look to move their intellectual property from tax havens and Ireland should continue to monitor change in this area, as a competitive tax rate could become highly relevant.

The research by the department concludes the work being done by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, which is aimed at drafting new global rules for corporate taxation, fits with the policy that has operated in Ireland since the 1950s.

This is because the OECD is seeking to create a greater alignment between where the substance of a companys business resides and where it pays tax. Historically, Ireland has used its low corporation tax base to attract real and substantial business activities here.

The same research notes the importance and risk to Irelands economy that lie in the fact it is so dependent on foreign direct investment. A paper by the Revenue Commissioners that forms part of the research shows one 1 out of every 8 in tax raised in 2012 came from corporation tax, and almost three-quarters of the corporation tax raised in 2008 to 2012 came from foreign-owned multinationals.

The top ten companies were responsible for 24 per cent of the corporation tax raised. Furthermore, foreign multinationals have higher productivity than most domestic companies and wages tend to be twice those paid by indigenous firms.

In his budget speech on Tuesday, Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan announced the ending of the so-called double Irish tax structure, where companies could book sales from around Europe and further afield to their operating company in Ireland, before that company paid huge royalty or licence payments to another, Irish-registered company that was tax resident offshore.

At the same time, he announced plans to put in place a so-called knowledge development box, a structure that would create tax advantages for companies that locate their intellectual property here.

Read more:
Global tax changes create Irish opportunity

U.S. pharmaceutical company AbbVie said it was reconsidering its $55 billion takeover of Shire in the wake of U.S. government moves to curb deals designed to cut tax, wiping $13 billion off the London-listed firm’s stock price.

Chicago-based AbbVie said late on Tuesday it was responding to the U.S. proposals which aim to make it harder for American firms to shift their tax bases out of the U.S. and into lower cost jurisdictions in Europe.

AbbVie’s move for Shire, a leader in drugs to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and rare diseases, was announced in July amid a spate of similar takeover deals within the U.S. and European pharmaceutical sector.

It proposed creating a new U.S.-listed holding company with a tax domicile in Britain, which applies low tax rates to patent income and has passed laws that make it easy for companies to shift profits into tax havens.

The news hammered shares in Shire, sending them down 27 percent, back to where they were before the deal talks emerged in June.

Shares in larger rival AstraZeneca, which had rebuffed its own takeover deal by U.S. group Pfizer fell 4 percent while replacement knees and hips maker Smith & Nephew, which had also been touted as a target, slipped 3 percent.

AbbVie’s move wrongfooted Shire investors, coming just weeks after AbbVie chief executive Richard Gonzalez, in the wake of the Treasury proposals, told employees of both companies he was “more energized than ever” about the deal.

Also tax advisers had said the Treasury measures were unlikely to significantly impact most inversion deals.

Although the new rules will make some deals costlier and others more difficult, fast-food chain Burger King Worldwide Inc said it will proceed with its $11.5 billion transaction with Canada’s Tim Hortons Inc.

Gonzalez had said Shire’s appeal stretched far beyond its tax domicile, pointing to its portfolio of drugs, some of which command prices of hundreds of thousands of pounds for an annual course of treatment, and its pipeline.

See the article here:
AbbVie Cools on $55B Shire Deal After U.S. Tax Changes

Ireland pledged Tuesday to close a corporate tax loophole that has brought it under the international spotlight as it unveiled a budget that ends a cycle of austerity cuts. Finance Minister Michael Noonan told parliament that the "Double Irish" system, which allows multinationals to transfer profits to tax havens, would be abolished next year for new companies, and by 2020 for existing users of …

Link:
Ireland closes tax loophole as unveils post-austerity budget

Senate committee chairman Sam Dastyari has vowed to investigate corporate tax avoidance. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Forty ofAustralia’s biggest companies will be asked to explain their tax affairs to a Senate committee investigating corporate tax avoidance.

Companies shown, in a recent report, to have the lowest “effective tax rate” over the past decade and to operate the most subsidiaries in tax havens have been given the chance to outline their tax strategies before the committee decides which corporate leaders to call in to appear before public hearings.

The Senate can subpoena witnesses and committee chairman Sam Dastyari has vowed to use that power if the inquiry encounters resistance from big business.

Companies that will be invited to explain their persistently low tax contributions, according to the report, include shopping centre company Westfield, building products firm James Hardie, motorway group Transurban,SydneyAirport, Telstra, SingTel and Echo Entertainment, owner ofSydney’s Star casino.

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The Greens, who led the push to form the tax inquiry, have vowed to call multinationals Apple, Google and Swiss-based miner Glencore to face questions about their tax contribution toAustralia.

The report, Who pays for our common wealth?,found almost a third of the nation’s largest companiesare paying less than 10 in the dollar in company tax and some companies, including global broadcaster 21st Century Fox and Toll Holdings, operate dozens of subsidiaries in low-tax jurisdictions such as the Cayman Islands, the British Virgin Islands and Bermuda.

A recent tax justice report in the United States found that US companies that claim to have business in tax havens declared profits that equate to $870,000 for each person that lives in those three tiny island nations.

There is a certain office block, known as Ugland House, in the Caymans that is the registered address of 18,857 companies.

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Tax probe to issue 'please explains'

Senate committee chairman Sam Dastyari has vowed to investigate corporate tax avoidance. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Forty ofAustralia’s biggest companies will be asked to explain their tax affairs to a Senate committee investigating corporate tax avoidance.

Companies shown, in a recent report, to have the lowest “effective tax rate” over the past decade and to operate the most subsidiaries in tax havens have been given the chance to outline their tax strategies before the committee decides which corporate leaders to call in to appear before public hearings.

The Senate can subpoena witnesses and committee chairman Sam Dastyari has vowed to use that power if the inquiry encounters resistance from big business.

Companies that will be invited to explain their persistently low tax contributions, according to the report, include shopping centre company Westfield, building products firm James Hardie, motorway group Transurban,SydneyAirport, Telstra, SingTel and Echo Entertainment, owner ofSydney’s Star casino.

Advertisement

The Greens, who led the push to form the tax inquiry, have vowed to call multinationals Apple, Google and Swiss-based miner Glencore to face questions about their tax contribution toAustralia.

The report, Who pays for our common wealth?,found almost a third of the nation’s largest companiesare paying less than 10 in the dollar in company tax and some companies, including global broadcaster 21st Century Fox and Toll Holdings, operate dozens of subsidiaries in low-tax jurisdictions such as the Cayman Islands, the British Virgin Islands and Bermuda.

A recent tax justice report in the United States found that US companies that claim to have business in tax havens declared profits that equate to $870,000 for each person that lives in those three tiny island nations.

There is a certain office block, known as Ugland House, in the Caymans that is the registered address of 18,857 companies.

Read this article:
Tax 'please explains' on the way

Senate committee chairman Sam Dastyari has vowed to investigate corporate tax avoidance. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Forty ofAustralia’s biggest companies will be asked to explain their tax affairs to a Senate committee investigating corporate tax avoidance.

Companies shown, in a recent report, to have the lowest “effective tax rate” over the past decade and to operate the most subsidiaries in tax havens have been given the chance to outline their tax strategies before the committee decides which corporate leaders to call in to appear before public hearings.

The Senate can subpoena witnesses and committee chairman Sam Dastyari has vowed to use that power if the inquiry encounters resistance from big business.

Companies that will be invited to explain their persistently low tax contributions, according to the report, include shopping centre company Westfield, building products firm James Hardie, motorway group Transurban,SydneyAirport, Telstra, SingTel and Echo Entertainment, owner ofSydney’s Star casino.

Advertisement

The Greens, who led the push to form the tax inquiry, have vowed to call multinationals Apple, Google and Swiss-based miner Glencore to face questions about their tax contribution toAustralia.

The report, Who pays for our common wealth?,found almost a third of the nation’s largest companiesare paying less than 10 in the dollar in company tax and some companies, including global broadcaster 21st Century Fox and Toll Holdings, operate dozens of subsidiaries in low-tax jurisdictions such as the Cayman Islands, the British Virgin Islands and Bermuda.

A recent tax justice report in the United States found that US companies that claim to have business in tax havens declared profits that equate to $870,000 for each person that lives in those three tiny island nations.

There is a certain office block, known as Ugland House, in the Caymans that is the registered address of 18,857 companies.

Read the rest here:
Senate inquiry demands answers from low-tax companies

Senate committee chairman Sam Dastyari has vowed to investigate corporate tax avoidance. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Forty ofAustralia’s biggest companies will be asked to explain their tax affairs to a Senate committee investigating corporate tax avoidance.

Companies shown, in a recent report, to have the lowest “effective tax rate” over the past decade and to operate the most subsidiaries in tax havens have been given the chance to outline their tax strategies before the committee decides which corporate leaders to call in to appear before public hearings.

The Senate can subpoena witnesses and committee chairman Sam Dastyari has vowed to use that power if the inquiry encounters resistance from big business.

Companies that will be invited to explain their persistently low tax contributions, according to the report, include shopping centre company Westfield, building products firm James Hardie, motorway group Transurban,SydneyAirport, Telstra, SingTel and Echo Entertainment, owner ofSydney’s Star casino.

Advertisement

The Greens, who led the push to form the tax inquiry, have vowed to call multinationals Apple, Google and Swiss-based miner Glencore to face questions about their tax contribution toAustralia.

The report, Who pays for our common wealth?,found almost a third of the nation’s largest companiesare paying less than 10 in the dollar in company tax and some companies, including global broadcaster 21st Century Fox and Toll Holdings, operate dozens of subsidiaries in low-tax jurisdictions such as the Cayman Islands, the British Virgin Islands and Bermuda.

A recent tax justice report in the United States found that US companies that claim to have business in tax havens declared profits that equate to $870,000 for each person that lives in those three tiny island nations.

There is a certain office block, known as Ugland House, in the Caymans that is the registered address of 18,857 companies.

Read more here:
Companies asked to please explain

Welcome to Google’s actual offices in Dublin, Ireland.

“I am abolishing the ability of companies to use the Double Irish by changing our residency rules to require all companies registered in Ireland to also be tax resident,” Irish Finance Minister Michael Noonan said in a statement accompanying the governments new 2015 budget on Tuesday. “This legal change will take effect from the 1stof January 2015 for new companies. For existing companies, there will be provision for a transition period until the end of 2020.”

The move will affect many tech firms that take advantage of this arrangement such as Apple, Amazon, Adobe, Microsoft, and Google. Last year, for example, Google alone cut billions off of its tax bill.

Google declared $60 billion worth of revenue in the United States in 2013. Googles effective tax rate in the United States has fallen dramatically from 21 percent to 15.7 percent in recent years as the company has broadened its use of overseas tax benefits.

As Google stated in its 2013 annual report, “Our provision for income taxes and our effective tax rate decreased from 2012 to 2013, primarily as a result of proportionately more earnings realized in countries that have lower statutory tax rates as well as the federal research and development credit related to the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012.”

In July 2014, Ars reported thatGoogle Ireland Limited paid an effective tax rate of just 0.16 percent on 17 billion ($22.8 billion) revenue in 2013. That bill came to a mere 27.7 million ($37.2 million). Google paid 11.7 billion in “administrative expenses,” which The Irish Times reports “largely refers to royalties paid to other Google entities, some of which are ultimately controlled from tax havens such as Bermuda.”

Google and many other tech firms have recently come underincreased scrutiny for using a quirky Irish tax law arrangement that allows organizations to incorporate in Ireland but legally route money through other jurisdictionssuch as the Netherlands. It’s all done in the name of drastically reducing tax burdens. The general term is called “transfer pricing,” although specific tactics involve colorful names like the “Double Irish” and the “Dutch Sandwich.”

Samuel Brunson, a professor of tax law at Loyola University Chicago, said that such a move was a long time coming.

“It does seem like a good thing, albeit a delayed good thing,” he told Ars.”With the low corporate tax rate, though, I assume Ireland will still actively try to attract foreign direct investment, and even aggressive tax planning, since its corporate rate is staying at 12.5 percent and it still has its web of tax treaties. Still, although theres bound to be some way to arbitrage the change, it seems like a move toward a cleaner global set of international taxes.”

Ars has previously detailedhow the Double Irish works. Bloomberg reporter Jesse Drucker first described the process in 2010: a company sells or licenses its foreign rights forintellectual property developed in the United States to a subsidiary in a country with lower tax rates. The result? Foreign profits that come from that techlike the rights to Googles search and advertising technology, effectively the keys to the kingdomare now attributed to that offshore subsidiary rather than the Mountain View, California headquarters. The subsidiaries have to pay “arms length” prices for those rights, just like an outside company would.

Read more here:
Ireland to phase out Double Irish tax trickery, to Googles chagrin

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan. Photograph: Bryan OBrien

The Government is to propose a significant new tax policy related to companies intellectual property as part of tomorrows budget.

The move is a bid to try to reassure international investors, as the budget will also announce the ending of the controversial double Irish tax structure, following significant international pressure on Ireland.

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan will propose that under a new regime companies can put earnings coming from the exploitation and patenting of intellectual property (IP) into a separate box, which would attract a lower tax rate. However these so-called patent box structures are themselves controversial, so Mr Noonan is expected to indicate he would seek EU approval for the move, likely to delay its introduction for at least a year. It would be billed as a move to attract high-value research to Ireland.

The double Irish is expected to end for new investors from next January. Multinationals here who use the structure will be given time to phase it out thought likely to be four years. The double Irish helps big multinationals to channel profits earned outside the US through Ireland and out to tax havens, allowing multinationals to incorporate a company here but have it tax resident elsewhere. This is the loophole the budget will close off, ruling that all companies incorporated here must pay tax here too, unless allowed to do so otherwise by double tax arrangements.

Mr Noonan will announce measures along with the abolition of the double Irish. The centre-point to this will be the patent box, which would allow companies to pay a lower tax on the exploitation of the research and development of products and services located in Ireland.

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Tax policy changes for companies due in budget

The double Irish scheme allows firms to reduce real taxation bills well below Irelands already low 12.5pc corporation tax rate, breaks that are deeply resented in higher tax eurozone countries such as France.

Under the scheme, an Irish operating company pays fees for intellectual property to a second, related Irish company, which benefits from tax residence outside Ireland.

Companies are then able to exploit different residence rules in US and Irish taxation codes, allowing American companies to move profits into tax havens like Bermuda.

According to the US Bureau of Economic Analysis, the double Irish scheme resulted in implicit tax rates as low as 2.2pc for some of the worlds biggest corporations that are also major job providers in Ireland.

This summer, the commission began legal proceedings over Irish tax breaks given to Apple, which led to the US technology giant having to pay back billions of dollars.

EU moves to close down the low Irish corporate tax regime are controversial in Ireland because foreign investment is credited with helping the country emerge relatively unscathed from a eurozone bailouts programme, unlike Portugal, Greece or Cyprus.

Under pressure, Mr Noonan is considering closing the arrangement to new entrants from next year is wary of being seen to bow to Brussels because of lingering public hostility to eurozone austerity measures imposed by the EU.

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Brussels puts pressure on Dublin to close tax loopholes



Offshore: Tax Havens And The Rule Of Global Crime – Alain Deneault
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Offshore: Tax Havens And The Rule Of Global Crime – Alain Deneault – Video

EU authorities have launched a probe of Amazon.com Inc.s finances as Brussels broadens its investigation into U.S. companies it suspects are using the Continent as a tax haven. In recent weeks, the European Commission has also launched inquiries into the tax practices of Apple Inc. and Starbucks Corporation, among others.

The probes come as cash-strapped governments around the world look for ways to recoup what may add up to billions of dollars in unpaid taxes from global companies that employ armies of experts to exploit loopholes in local and international regulations.

The EU has said that corporate tax-avoidance schemes cost its member states about $1.3 trillion per year in lost revenue.

Amazons international tax strategy has also been challenged by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, and a case set for trial in Seattle in November could see the e-commerce giant owing the federal government more than $1.5 billion for the tax years 2005 to 2012.

For its part, the EC is concerned that Amazon may have arranged a sweetheart deal with Luxembourg, where its European subsidiary, Amazon EU Sarl, is domiciled. Investigators claim the subsidiary pays artificially low taxes of less than 1 percent on profits that Amazon earns throughout Europe.

National authorities must not allow selected companies to understate their taxable profits by using favorable calculation methods, said Joaqun Almunia, the European Commissions VP for competition policy, in a statement Tuesday. It is only fair that subsidiaries of multinational companies pay their share of taxes and do not receive preferential treatment, said Almunia.

The case puts scrutiny on so-called transfer pricing, a method by which global companies can steer the bulk of their profits to subsidiaries that operate in countries with the lowest tax rates while minimizing taxable profits in highly taxed jurisidictions. In a typical arrangement, a subsidiary in a low-tax region will charge more highly taxed divisions an inflated rate for internally supplied goods and services. The practice lowers tax liabilities for the latter while shifting profits to units in tax havens.

The EC said its investigating whether Amazon used transfer pricing to place the bulk of its European profits in Luxembourg. Fair tax competition is fundamental for a healthy Single Market and our common economic prosperity, said Algirdas emeta, the ECs commissioner for taxation, also in a statement.

In an email to International Business Times, an Amazon spokesman said the company has received no special tax treatment from Luxembourg — we are subject to the same tax laws as other companies operating there.

Experts say the intensifying political debate over inversions, whereby a company moves its headquarters to a lower-cost region by merging with a foreign rival, may be behind Europes renewed vigilance on tax compliance. The Europeans are saying we no longer wish to be a tax haven for American companies. That they can flex their muscles just as well as any other jurisdiction, said Jeffrey Katz, managing partner at the law firm of JDKatz in Bethesda, Maryland.

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EUs Amazon Probe Puts Scrutiny On Global Tax-Shifting Schemes



VOA Special English, Tax Havens
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