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French parliament approves belt-tightening budget

The French parliament on Thursday approved a belt-tightening budget for 2014 with huge spending cuts and tax hikes in a bid to rein in the country's high public deficit. The second budget of Socialist President Francois Hollande's government had been rejected by the Senate but passed Thursday in the lower house although the main opposition centre-right UMP party and the far-right National Front voted against it. The budget will now have to be approved by the Constitutional Council -- France's top court -- before the end of the year.

France's Hollande shows soccer clubs red card on tax

PARIS (Reuters) - French President Francois Hollande has finally found an interest group he can say 'no' to. The Socialist leader told soccer club owners on Thursday he has no intention of repealing or exempting them from a 75-percent tax on salaries exceeding 1 million euros per year, despite the threat of a match blackout later this month.

Aberdeen loses court battle on tax avoidance scheme

LONDON (Reuters) - Investment manager Aberdeen Asset Management <ADN.L> has lost a court battle over the closure of an offshore scheme it used to shield employees' bonuses from tax, as Britain cracks down on tax avoidance. The Scottish Court of Session told Aberdeen to shut its Employee Benefit Trust (EBT), which saved senior staff 7 million pounds ($11 million) in income tax and National Insurance contributions due on 31 million pounds of bonuses paid between 2000 and 2003.

Britain plans to name, shame 'cowboy' tax advisers

LONDON (Reuters) - British authorities would get the right to name and shame tax advisers who deliberately steer their clients into tax avoidance schemes that are likely to break the law, under a government proposal announced on Monday. The proposal is part of a wider effort to discourage companies and individuals from using complex schemes - some of which drift over into illegality - to reduce their tax payments, after several multinational firms were shown to be paying little or no taxes in Britain.

Vodafone says paid no UK corporation tax in two years

By Tom Bergin LONDON (Reuters) - Vodafone Group Plc <VOD.L> said it paid no corporation tax in Britain for the year to March 2013, prompting fresh criticism from campaigners who have made the UK mobile telephone group a target in the debate on corporate tax payments. Revelations of profit shifting by big companies have provoked anger among austerity-weary citizens across Europe and political leaders have pledged to act.

UK campaign group loses Goldman Sachs tax case

Britain's High Court on Thursday rejected a challenge by a campaign group over the legality of a so-called "sweetheart" tax deal between British tax authorities and US investment banking giant Goldman Sachs. Campaigners UK Uncut Legal Action claimed that the taxpayer was effectively deprived of up to £20 million ($30.5 million, 23.7 million euros) in tax under the deal struck in 2010. The group alleged that the deal was allowed to go ahead to avoid causing "major embarrassment" to finance minister George Osborne after the bank became "aggressive" and allegedly made threats.

UK campaign group loses challenge to Goldman Sachs tax deal with British government

LONDON - A U.K. pressure group has lost its legal challenge to what it called a "sweetheart" tax deal between U.K. authorities and Goldman Sachs. UK Uncut Legal Action, which campaigns against tax avoidance, had sought a High Court declaration that it was unlawful for the investment bank to avoid a multimillion pound interest bill on unpaid tax on bonuses. Judge Andrew Nicol ruled Thursday that the decision was not unlawful even if it was not a "glorious episode."

Britain, U.S., Australia hunt for tax evaders yielding leads

By William James and Patrick Temple-West LONDON/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A joint effort by Britain, the United States and Australia to track down people who conceal wealth in offshore tax structures has helped identify more than 100 individuals, the UK's tax authority said on Thursday. "The message is simple: if you evade tax, we're coming after you," said Britain's Finance Minister George Osborne.

British NGO challenges tax authorities over "sweetheart" Goldman tax deal

LONDON - A British non-governmental organization is challenging what it calls a "sweetheart" tax deal between U.K. authorities and Goldman Sachs. UK Uncut Legal Action, which campaigns against tax avoidance, is challenging the deal before Britain's High Court on Thursday. The group wants a High Court declaration saying it was unlawful for the investment bank to avoid a multimillion pound interest bill on unpaid tax on bonuses. UK Uncut says taxpayers are out 20 million pounds ($31 million), though the potential cost is officially put at 8 million.

Bank of Ireland loses 30 million-pound UK tax case

By Tom Bergin LONDON (Reuters) - A British tax tribunal has rejected an attempt by Bank of Ireland (BoI) to avoid 30 million pounds in corporation tax by transferring a financial contract between subsidiaries, the UK tax authority said on Tuesday. Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) said BoI's Bristol and West home mortgage subsidiary had tried to make the tax bill "disappear" through "a flawed attempt to exploit what it thought was a loophole in the tax rules".
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