STEP Wealth Structuring News Digest

07 March 2011

FRANCE – Adieu to the Bouclier Fiscale 
France’s prime minister has announced the scrapping of the ‘tax shield’, an important concession that capped every French resident’s tax bill to at most 50 per cent of income. 

AUSTRALIA – Government will change trust law to reverse Bamford ruling 
The Australian government has announced plans to change the taxation of trusts, redefining trust income such that undistributed income is not taxed. Trustees will be allowed to stream capital gains and franked distributions to beneficiaries. The move will unwind the unwelcome effects of last year’s High Court ruling in Bamford. 
The Australian 
Sydney Morning Herald  

SWITZERLAND – Uncomfortable times for Credit Suisse 
The news agency Swissinfo examines the difficult position of Credit Suisse in the wake of US criminal charges against some of its employees, and a raid on its German offices. 
CANADA – Penna affair exposes weaknesses in estate administration system 
Canada’s trust and estate sector is under scrutiny following the Penna scandal, in which a Toronto philanthropist’s $24 million estate was squandered by one of his trustees. The trustee is now serving 14 months for contempt of court. 
All About Estates blog   

SPAIN – Corporate sector committed to IFCs 
All of Spain’s largest companies operate through subsidiaries based in foreign jurisdictions, according to an independent research organisation. The most popular jurisdictions are the Netherlands, Delaware, Luxembourg, Cayman Islands, Switzerland, Puerto Rico and Panama. 
ARGENTINA – Action against tax-dodging by agriculture giants 
The Argentinian authorities last week raided the offices of 48 multinational agribusiness companies, as part of an investigation into tax evasion and money laundering. They allege the companies have concealed large profits on grain sales by ‘triangulation’ – channelling payments through offshore intermediaries. 
MONEY LAUNDERING – Public comment on FATF 40+9 proposals 
The OECD’s Financial Action Task Force has published comments from the public on its proposals for changing the so-called ’40+9′ standard measures against money laundering. 
PHILANTHROPY – Richard Cassell to speak on Lifetime Legacies: Funding the Big Society 
There has been renewed Government interest in the idea of ‘Lifetime legacies’ a Charitable Remainder Trusts (CRTs) structure popular in the US. They represent a new way to unlock money for charities. 

HONG KONG – Giant bank may relocate from London to Hong Kong 
Directors of HSBC have told shareholders that the giant bank is likely to shift domicile from London to Hong Kong. 

Telegraph (2) 

UK – Government takes aim at SDLT avoidance through share ownership 
The Sunday Times claims the UK Treasury is considering a new anti-avoidance measure to stop people buying high-value property through an IFC company, thus paying 0.5 per cent stamp duty instead of 5 per cent. 

UK – Temporary easing of tax residence rules for expats in North Africa 
The British government has announced a temporary relaxation on its tax residence day-counting rules, to allow expatriates in troubled Arab countries to return home for a while without tax penalties. 
FT Adviser  
Accountancy Age  
Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales   
MIGRATION – Moving from the UK to the USA 
A long article on the financial and legal aspects of moving from the UK to the United States. 
FCO – Just Who is a Foreign Governmental Official Under the FCPA? 
The US anti-bribery/anti-corruption and compliance world has literally been ‘a-twitter’ over the filing of a brief which puts squarely before a federal district court the questions of just what is an ‘instrumentality’ of a foreign government and who is a foreign government official. 

CARIBBEAN – Key partners in economic growth 
The 2011 STEP Caribbean Conference is stepping out of the ‘economic doom and gloom’ box and onto the world stage. The theme for the 2011 conference is a true reflection of both where the region is going and the business temperature across the sector. 
STEP Journal   


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