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Ireland to close Apple's tax loophole, but leave bigger one open

By Tom Bergin and Padraic Halpin LONDON/DUBLIN (Reuters) - Ireland said on Tuesday it planned to shut down a much-criticized tax arrangement used by Apple Inc to shelter over $40 billion from taxation - but will leave open an even bigger loophole that means the computer giant is unlikely to pay any more tax.

Swiss to sign last rites for banking secrecy

Switzerland will break the seal on its banking secrecy, until now considered virtually ironclad, by signing an international agreement on fighting tax evasion on Tuesday, the OECD said. This marks "the end of banking secrecy" in Switzerland, the head of tax issues at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, Pascal Saint-Amans, told AFP. The inclusion of Switzerland in the agreement to exchange information among more than 60 countries will be "highly significant" in the fight against tax evasion, he said.

U.S. multinationals to have say on OECD tax-base erosion project

By Patrick Temple-West WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. multinationals will next month be able to weigh in for the first time on recent proposals from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) on tightening oversight of tax-reducing "transfer pricing" strategies. These financial strategies, involving how multinationals value and price assets they move around the globe from one unit to another, have been criticized by tax fairness advocates and the OECD, a Paris-based club of rich countries.

Switzerland says it will sign OECD tax deal

Switzerland intends to sign an international deal on exchanging tax information, the government said on Wednesday, saying this demonstrated that it was committed to fighting tax evasion. The agreement on information concerns non-residents with assets in the country, brokered by the OECD and Council of Europe. In a statement, the government said it was committed to complying with international standards on tax issues. "The signing of the OECD/Council of Europe convention underscores Switzerland's willingness to conform to these standards," the statement said.

Colombia minister says tax haven 'party over' with 33 percent charge

By Julia Symmes Cobb BOGOTA (Reuters) - Colombia slapped a 33 percent charge on Tuesday on assets moved to tax havens, and the finance minister said "the party is over" for Colombians dodging taxes by sending funds abroad. The charge will be applied for both individuals and businesses that move funds to any of the 44 countries on the government's tax haven list, which includes Hong Kong, Bahrain and Antigua and Barbuda.

Britain challenges banker bonus cap in new clash with EU

By Huw Jones and William Schomberg LONDON (Reuters) - Britain has launched a legal challenge to the European Union's cap on bankers' bonuses which London fears will hurt its financial industry. Finance minister George Osborne has long argued that Brussels has gone too far with reforms aimed at preventing a repeat of the financial crisis. But EU financial services chief Michel Barnier said the bonus cap was legal.

Britain's Labour plans increase in bank taxes to fund welfare

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's opposition Labour party said on Monday it would increase taxes on banks' balance sheets and introduce a levy on bankers' bonuses to pay for spending on childcare and job guarantees if it won the 2015 election. Ed Balls, the man who could be finance minister if Labour wins the next election, said he would increase the existing tax on banks' balance sheets -- known as the bank levy -- to raise an extra 800 million pounds ($1.28 billion).

India's new rules aim to rein in disputes on transfer pricing

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India introduced new tax rules on Wednesday aimed at reducing litigation with multinational firms over cross-border transactions the government considers tax avoidance schemes. The new "safe harbor" rules aim to clarify transfer pricing, over which disputes have surged under a government drive for revenue to narrow a yawning fiscal deficit and stave off a threatened ratings downgrade. Revenue secretary Sumit Bose said the new rules would clarify the tax liability of companies.

EU lawyers say transaction tax plan is illegal

By Huw Jones LONDON (Reuters) - A plan to tax financial transactions in 11 European Union member states from 2014 is illegal, the bloc's lawyers have concluded, dealing what could be a final blow to the measure as proposed. The opinion is not binding and Germany which backs the tax aimed at making banks pay governments about 35 billion euros a year after receiving taxpayer aid during the 2007-09 financial crisis, said it still wants swift introduction of the levy.

Unfavourable legal opinion questions planned European financial transaction tax

BRUSSELS - The European governments' legal advisory service in Brussels has issued a damning internal memo that throws a planned financial transaction tax in jeopardy. The European Council's experts say in the document seen by The Associated Press Tuesday the tax — to be introduced jointly by 11 European Union member countries — exceeds the member states' jurisdiction, may infringe on provisions of EU treaties and may have discriminatory effects on countries not taking part.
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