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LATEST ON IRS OFFENSIVE
Federal prosecutors, acting on the IRS’s behalf, have begun trying to force CompuServe to hand over the names of customers who purchased their Internet service with MasterCards issued by banks in the Caribbean. The IRS suspects some may be Americans who use the accounts to hide income, but does not know which ones. So it wants to examine all 237,000 accounts.More on this story here.
A Busy Week for the U.S. in its pursuit of tax rebels, and more work-a-day evaders. An 8-year prison sentence was imposed on a former IRS lawyer who evaded $2 million in taxes on profits from a stock swindle. Five civil injunctions were also sought against promoters of tax reduction schemes, including one against a man whose clients paid him up to $20,000 for advice based on the “861” position - named after a section in the Internal Revenue Code - which alleges that most Americans do not owe tax unless they work for foreign-owned companies. According to the complaint, Carel “Chad” Prater filed invalid “judgments” against the IRS, sold bogus trusts, hid clients’ income in anonymous limited liability corporations, filed frivolous tax returns, and tried to persuade employers to stop withholding taxes from his clients’ wages. “They’re not saying what we’re doing is illegal,” said Prater.
In Newark, the Justice Department sought a federal court injunction on Thursday against Richard Haraka, owner of the Taxgate.com Web site. The department contends Mr. Harakas has been interfering with enforcement of the federal tax laws and promoting the 861 position. The government filed suit earlier against Thurston P. Bell, who uses his web site Nite.org to promote his version of the 861 position. The Justice Department has not made any move against four leading advocates of the 861 position who boast about not paying taxes.More on these actions, and other actions taken, here, here, and here.
GIBRALTAR VOTES A RESOUNDING 99% “NO”
Voters in one of Europe’s leading tax and asset havens rejected the idea of Britain sharing sovereignty over the UK colony with Spain. MADRID and LONDON say they will ignore the vote.More on this story here, here, here, here, and here.
WEALTHY BRIT SAVES TAXES IN ANDORRA EXILE
World rally champion Richard Burns escapes UK taxes in Andorra.More on this story here.
New Labour taxes on British business £47 billion (US$74.8 billion).More on this story here.
WITH FRIENDS LIKE THESE ... -- LABOUR PRAISES U.K TAX HAVENS’ COOPERATION
LONDON: When UK Chancellor Gordon Brown praises the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands for limiting strict financial privacy, something is wrong.More on this story here.
Aside from financial matters, Isle of Man is a nice place to visit.More on this story here.
SWISS COURT HELPS CARLOS MENEM INVESTIGATION
GENEVA: Did Argentine ex-president take a bribe? Swiss bank secrecy may be lifted, funds frozen during investigation with Swiss help.More on this story here.
EUROPEAN UNION MEGA-MERGER PENDING
25 nations, 450 million citizens; EU expansion challenges US.More on this story here.
Eastern Europeans have doubts about joining the EU.More on this story here.
E.U. CONSTITUTION DRAFT SEEKS CONTINENTAL TAX POWERS
“Tax harmonisation”, expected to be one of the key features of the Constitution, would mean abandonment of the national veto over fiscal change. EU could set minimum levels of corporate tax and ensure that value added tax did not diverge greatly from one country to the next. However, it would not affect taxes on personal income, wealth or property [for now].More on this story here and here.
REPUBLICAN ELECTION WIN HELPS OFFSHORE POLICIES
Coverage of Dan Mitchell’s US election analysis memo. While not all Republicans are firm supporters of tax competition, financial privacy, and fiscal sovereignty, they almost always are better on these issues than the Democrats they replace. Many of the new Senators are effective and articulate defenders of market-based policy. Conversely, Democrat Senators will have far less power to promote bad tax policy.Rest of report summary here.
Offshore corporation bashing replaced by business tax reform?More on this story here.
US Elections - the impact on cross-border taxation issues. US more likely to opt for lower taxes and business growth. Support for the OECD’s “tax competition” initiative will wane further.More on this story here.
COOK ISLANDS DEFICITS AGAIN AN ISSUE
RAROTONGA: Deficit spending got this Pacific tax haven into trouble before and it may do so again as government payrolls rise.More on this story here.
VANUATU EX-PM KICKED OUT OF ISLAND PARLIAMENT AFTER FRAUD CONVICTION
PORT VILA: Another reason to avoid this wannabe tax haven.More on this story here.
MICRO “NATIONS” LIVE ON THE INTERNET, NOWHERE ELSE
Dubious jurisdictions peddle governmental trappings - for a fee - without legitimacy, i.e., they are not recognized as legitimate by other governments. Often no more than a Web site.More on this story here.
NO WONDER CANADIANS ARE ANGRY AT THE U.S.
TORONTO: New US border crossing policies subject naturalized Canadians to humiliation, search, delays.More on this story here.
BERMUDA RESIDENTS UNHAPPY WITH BASHING BY U.S.
HAMILTON: American political campaigns miscast island tax haven.More on this story here.
CANADA LAW TRASHES CIVIL RIGHTS
OTTAWA: Canadian anti-terror legislation under attack.More on this story here.
IS U.S. HOMELAND SECURITY AN EMPTY PLAN?
The government already had the machinery needed to coordinate homeland security. Creating new bureaucratic organizations does not correct existing problems of inefficiency, bureaucratic inertia, and failure to share information among organizations. Efforts for increased security should focus on timely intelligence sharing, threat recognition, and action.More on this story here.
BRITISH LABOUR SEEKS TO ABOLISH CIVIL RIGHTS
LONDON: Civil rights backlash developing over radical proposals.More on this story here.
PRIVACY MEANS AVOID WINDOWS XP
Privacy/security FAQs on Windows XP here.
Agreeing to Windows XP EULA may violate US privacy laws.More on this story here and here.
Anyone using any MS OS later than Win2000 SP2, or with any “fixes” later than Win2000 SP2, does so at their own risk - and under extreme jeopardy.More on this story here.
EAST EUROPE NATIONS DIRTY CASH FLOW
New EU candidate nations have history of money laundering, corruption.More on this story here.
Offshore multinationals use bribery, corruption as business option.More on this story here.
SWISS RECESSION SEEN AHEAD
A “double dip” economic downturn foreseen in Switzerland.More on this story here.
WANT TO WORK OFFSHORE?According to the State Department, at least 2 million American citizens work abroad. Two basic approaches: Work for a U.S. organization that sends workers abroad, or go it alone. More tips on how to get offshore jobs and adjust to life abroad here.
NO-LONGER-SO-RED CHINA SAYS FAREWELL TO KARL MARX
BEIJING: Communist Party, founded in 1921 to foment a workers’ revolution, will now freely admit its declared enemies of decades - entrepreneurs, factory owners, bankers, stock brokers and currency speculators.More on this story here and here.
Chinese tax evaders to be prosecuted.More on this story here.
IRS RULING UPSETS INVESTORS USING TAX SHELTERS
WASHINGTON: IRS claims hedge fund investments in an offshore life insurance wrapper does not make them tax free.More on this story here.
Changes at the US SEC may slow down US hedge fund regulation.More on this story here.
OFFSHORE STOCK SALES BOILER ROOMS A REAL DANGER
Lies, exaggerations and deceit common sales tactics. Be very wary.More on this story here.
Offshore stocks not doing as well as they once did.More on this story here.
Internet scams promise unlikely high returns from little money.More on this story here.
Traditional confidence schemes now high-tech, using Net fraud.More on this story here.
NIGERIA TO ADOPT ANTI-SCAM LAWS
LAGOS: Parliament considering curbs on notorious Internet scams.More on this story here.
TAKE STEPS TO PROTECT YOUR I.R.A.
Changing tax laws make constant review essential.More on this story here.
All about pensions for expatriate employees living abroad.More on this story here.
UK death taxes hitting middle class home owners.More on this story here.
BILLIONAIRE GEORGE SOROS MAY FACE FRENCH BANK TRIAL
Failed takeover of French bank Societe Generale in 1998 at issue.More on this story here.
HATCH WANTS TO INVADE YOUR PRIVACY
Utah Senator wants government snoops to be able secretly wiretap communications and e-mail without a warrant.More on this story here.
US FEDERAL AGENTS TO SET UP RANDOM ROAD BLOCKS IN MICHIGAN
The practice of internal checkpoints, common in states along the southwest border, now coming to the northern border states.More on this story here.
INDEX SEASON IS UPON US
Hong Kong Named Freest Economy.More on this story here.
Heritage-WSJ 2003 Index of Economic Freedom Published.More on this story here. Full text of index here.
S&P Index of Country Risks.More on this story here.
World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Index.More on this story here.
BAHAMAS PRIME MINISTER’S HOT AIR
NASSAU: Elected on a promise to reform radical anti-offshore laws, PM Christie talks a lot but does very little.More on this story here.
BERMUDA BRACES FOR MORE AMERICAN DEMAGOGUERY
HAMILTON: Fresh US assault on “Bermuda tax dodges” expected.More on this story here.
More Bermuda insurance companies chartered.More on this story here.
PANAMA KEEPS ON BLOCKING NET PHONE ACCESS
Government monopoly more important than Web freedom.More on this story here and here.
THE ROCK OF GIBRALTAR
A pointed (and funny) perspective on the UK-Spanish deal over Gibraltar.More on this story here.
SWITZERLAND STANDS FIRM ON BANK SECRECY
Swiss official tells UK Chancellor “no” to his face again.More on this story here.
E.U. DEMANDS HUNGARY END PRO-BUSINESS TAX BREAKS
BUDAPEST: EU does not like tax laws that attract foreign business.More on this story here.
MASS EXODUS FROM ZIMBABWE
HARARE: Thousands flee government-sanctioned political violence, dying economy (Zimbabwe’s unemployment level is pegged at 70 percent).More on this story here.
MORE GROUPS JOIN DEMAND TO KILL I.R.S. RULE
Protest aimed at Clinton/IRS proposal to report interest payments to non-resident aliens investing in US.More on this story here and here.
U.S. GOVERNMENT TRIES TO CURB OFFSHORE INVERSIONS
Bush Administration micromanages corporations trying to save taxes by reincorporation offshore. Reports to IRS and shareholders; capital gains taxes.More on this story here and here. Government statement text (PDF file format) here.
U.S. TREASURY CONSIDERS OFFSHORE TAX REFORM
International corporate taxes may get major overhaul. Some tax breaks to disappear Deputy Treasury Secretary says.More on this story here and here.
HSBC TARGET OF SPANISH FRAUD PROBE
MADRID: UK bank faces investigation in Spanish fraud scandal.More on this story here.
MAJOR NATIONS INVEST IN RUSSIA
MOSCOW: But Russian cash is stashed in offshore tax havens.More on this story here.
HIGH NET WORTH INDIVIDUALS HIT BY U.K. TAXES
LONDON: British taxes keep on rising. Rich a major target.More on this story here.
LOST IN CYBERBANKS
One man’s account of an online banking nightmare.More on this story here.
GOVERNMENT MANDATED SOFTWARE NOW SPIES ON MORTGAGE SEEKERS
Identity verification program designed to help prevent fraud, money laundering, and terrorist financing, as well as comply with the requirements of the Patriot Act.More on this story here.
HEDGE FUND CRASH WORRIES INVESTORS
Beacon Hill fund collapse shocks hedge fund market, investors. Such incidents increase the likelihood of additional regulation.More on this story here.
WILLIAM SAFIRE: YOU ARE A SUSPECT
Every purchase you make with a credit card, every magazine subscription you buy and medical prescription you fill, every Web site you visit and e-mail you send or receive, every academic grade you receive, every bank deposit you make, every trip you book and every event you attend — all these transactions and communications will go into what the Defense Department describes as “a virtual, centralized grand database”. To this computerized dossier on your private life from commercial sources, add every piece of information that government has about you — passport application, driver’s license and bridge toll records, judicial and divorce records, complaints from nosy neighbors to the F.B.I., your lifetime paper trail plus the latest hidden camera surveillance — and you have the supersnoop’s dream: a “Total Information Awareness” about every U.S. citizen. These are the privacy destroying plans of disgraced Reagan administration retread John Poindexter. The motto over Poindexter’s Pentagon office reads “Scientia Est Potentia” — “knowledge is power”.Rest of story here.
GOVERNMENT SURVEILLANCE FACTS SOUGHT
ACLU seeks information on increased surveillance in the US conducted under the USA PATRIOT Act.More on this story here.
CANADIANS UNDER SURVEILLANCE
OTTAWA: Privacy commissioners in seven provinces and territories are urging the federal government to abandon its plans to use an anti-terrorism database to look for other crimes. “That has no place in a free society, and that has nothing to do with Osama bin Laden or anti-terrorism. It has to do with using understandable public fears of terrorism as a Trojan horse to intrude on our lives and expand the powers of the state to invade privacy for completely unrelated purposes,” says Privacy Commissioner George Radwanski. But Customs and Revenue Minister says restricting the database’s use would restrict its usefulness.
“If you take a number of trips to Thailand - maybe you like the temples, maybe you like the food - but you may be flagged as a possible pedophile going to Thailand for the child sex trade. If you take a certain number of trips to the Bahamas - maybe you like the beaches - but you may be flagged as a money launderer,” said Radwanski. “Quite frankly, building dossiers on law-abiding citizens is the kind of thing the Stasi secret police used to do in East Germany, and we were all appalled when the extent of the dossiers came to light after the fall of East Germany. I don’t think that’s a model the Canadian government should be moving to, using the pretext of September 11.”More on this story here.
PHILIPPINES TO PUSH AHEAD WITH NATIONAL ID SYSTEMMore on this story here.
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