Category Archives: European Tax & Money Havens

Jersey Amends Trust Legislation

The latest amendment to Jersey’s trust legislation came into force on 2013, October 25, strengthening the territory’s legislative framework and providing greater clarity for the courts, practitioners and those who work with or benefit through Jersey trusts.

St. Brelades Bay, Jersey

The effect of Trusts (Amendment No. 6) (Jersey) Law 2013 is to confirm the Royal Court’s ability to provide discretionary relief in a number of trust scenarios, e.g. where a settlor has made an error in settling assets into trust, or where a trustee has erred in exercising a power, perhaps failing to take into account matters which should have been considered, or acting on incorrect professional advice.

Geoff Cook, CEO, Jersey Finance, commented: “Since its enactment in 1984, the Trusts (Jersey) Law has proved to be a highly effective and hugely influential piece of legislation. This latest amendment, only the sixth in nearly 30 years, provides welcome clarity for the Royal Court and for the many settlors, trustees and beneficiaries, all over the world, who enjoy the benefits of having Jersey law as the governing law of their trusts.

St. Brelades Bay, Jersey, image courtesy of Julia Raco, Wiki Commons

The ability for the Royal Court to give discretionary relief when a beneficiary finds itself materially prejudiced by a trustee’s decision – made, perhaps, in good faith but unfortunately founded upon erroneous advice – provides a welcome alternative to the uncertainties and costs which surround ‘classic negligence litigation’.

“With an estimated GBP 400bn (USD 647bn) of trust assets under administration in Jersey, this amendment can only serve to further bolster Jersey’s already highly regarded international private wealth offering.”

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Bulgaria Plans Low Tax to Attract More Business

Bulgaria says that its draft 2014 State Budget reflects a tax policy of treating low corporation and income tax as “an important stimulus for investment, economic growth and employment” while improving long-term fiscal stability.

Mall of Sofia

According to the Ministry of Finance, the budget has as its objective “accelerated economic growth” through a balanced approach to growth factors such as human capital, basic infrastructure, and the effective implementation of technological knowledge. The new budget, according to the Ministry, transforms the current model of containing growth through fiscal policies, and seeks to optimize and restructure Government administration by linking the availability of resources to ministries, and to other institutions, with achievable results.

In particular, the Government plans to implement a BGN500m (USD353m) public investment program called “Growth and Sustainable Development of the Regions” as a new mechanism for financing public investment projects. The move is intended to improve budget proposals by linking funding to the economic cycle and to a critical review of existing policies and programs, and to the process of absorbing European Union investment funds. In this way, according to the Ministry, EU funds will be used in ways that have a direct effect on growth, jobs, income, competitiveness and public infrastructure.

Mall of Sofia, courtesy of Nikola Gruev

Reforms are also planned to lower administrative burdens and costs for businesses and citizens. The Government believes that this will swiftly strengthen SMEs, improve the environment for business competition, and accelerate the processes of starting up new businesses.

Other key policies for 2014 include educational reforms to improve vocational training, including new e-learning and closer links between vocational schools and businesses, as well as measures to discourage early school-leaving. Measures will also be taken to modernize the agricultural sector through investment, innovation and restructuring, and there will be reform in healthcare, including increased pay for health professionals and the demonopolization of health insurance.

The 2014 Budget also reinstates the “Swiss Rule” for pension indexation, meaning pensions will increase by 3 percent as from July 1, 2014, with a raised ceiling from BGN 770 to BGN 840. Maternity and disabled-child allowances will be increased, eligibility for energy assistance widened, and new funding provided for public canteens.

The Ministry predicts that in 2014 real economic growth, inflation, and the deficit will all be at 1.8 percent of GDP. GDP is itself expected to reach BGN 81.582bn (USD57.5bn), and revenues to increase by BGN501.2m (USD350m) to BGN30.886bn (USD29bn). Debt is expected to drop substantially from the start of 2015 due to a forthcoming peak repayment of around BGN1.7bn (USD1.2bn) on global bonds issued in 2002.

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Isle of Man’s Gambling Duty Act 2012 To Come Into Force

he Isle of Man’s Gambling Duty Act 2012 will come into operation on January 01, 2014 if it is approved by the local parliament, Tynwald.

Man with two girls playing-roulette

The Act, which received Royal Assent in October 2012, replaces the former general betting duty, pool betting duty and online gambling duty with a single duty of excise called “gambling duty.” The Act repeals and replaces various provisions contained in the Pool Betting (Isle of Man) Act 1961, Betting Act 1970 and the Online Gambling Regulation Act 2001, which are concerned with the relevant duties.

The Act does not deal with machine games duty, lottery duty on National Lottery games, or land-based casino gaming.

Picture courtesy of 123rf

The rates and bases of liability for operators of the new gambling duty under the new Act will remain the same as currently apply for the duties being replaced. However, the new provisions are designed to be more flexible, and so better able to deal with technical or other developments. In this way, the Act is designed to create a consolidated and robust legislative framework underpinning what has become an important business sector in the Island, while allowing for future development of an innovative and fast-moving area.

Previously a business had different laws and procedures to follow in accounting for duty, and governing its dealings with Customs and Excise, depending on whether the business was a local bookmaker, pools promoter or online gambling operator, with different forms, public notices etc. From January 2014 there will be a single structure.

Where existing operators have been granted any permissions or exemptions, these will continue under the new duty regime. Furthermore, while any new operator intending to undertake dutiable operations on or after January 01, 2014 is required to provide the Treasury with 7 days prior notice, anyone who was already accounting for the duties being replaced will not be required to give such notification. Any credits or losses as accrued will also be transferable to the new duty.

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Luxembourg set to internationalize Renminbi

Underlining the increasing role of the Luxembourg financial center in the internationalization of the Chinese Renminbi (RMB), Luxembourg’s Finance Minister Luc Frieden announced the launch of a new web portal dedicated to the development of activities linked to the currency in Luxembourg.

Grand Ducal Palace, Luxembourg

The new web portal forms part of ongoing efforts over the past few years to promote and to further diversify the Grand Duchy’s financial market and to secure the future of the financial center. The Government’s strategy for developing the Luxembourg financial center is based on four axes, namely strengthening existing pillars, creating new products and services, promoting the financial center abroad, and diversifying the financial center geographically.

The Grand Ducal Palace, Luxembourg. Picture courtesy of Ernmuhl.

Underlining the importance of positioning Luxembourg more internationally in a global financial market, Frieden explained that, given its rapid economic growth, China constitutes “an ideal partner.” Similarly, China is committed to internationalizing the RMB and is currently looking for access to global financial markets, the Minister pointed out, alluding to the fact that the Bank of China and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China both now have their European headquarters in Luxembourg.

Luxembourg already plays a significant role in the international trade of the RMB, Frieden continued, citing the fact that RMB40bn (USD6.5bn) in deposits are held in the Grand Duchy and that RMB62bn in loans have been issued, and noting that 40 RMB-denominated bonds are listed on the Luxembourg Stock Exchange. Trade in the RMB and access to the RMB are vitally important for the Luxembourg financial center, in particular for the funds industry, Frieden ended.

The Luxembourg Government is not only reflecting constantly on the financial center’s future, but also on Luxembourg’s future economy and taxation, to ensure that its tax regime remains competitive and attractive for investors. At the same time, Luxembourg aims to guarantee legal certainty for investors, by ensuring that it is tax compliant, adopting the latest international regulations and standards in tax matters.

Tax & Money Havens

Countries With Capital Controls

We have compiled a list of countries that currently have capital controls. However, notice that Belize have a two system economy. The local banks and the local economy with capital

Great Blue Hole Belize

controls,and the international banks with their international clients with no capital controls.

To some extent this is “more or less” the case with some other countries as well, like for example Cuba and Malaysia.

 

Great Blue Hole in Belize, a paradise for foreingers. Phone courtesy of Wiki Commons

Here are the countries with capital controls in alphabetic order:

Argentina
Brazil
Belize
China
Colombia
Cyprus
Cuba
Ecuador (1
Egypt
Iceland
India
Indonesia
Iran
Malaysia
Mexico (2
Russia
South Africa
South Korea
Taiwan
Ukraine
Venezuela

Description:

1.) Ecuador taxes you 5% on every wire, check, ATM or visa/master card transaction you make outside of Ecuador.

2.) Mexico have a limit on cash US Dollar transactions. However, Mexico is mainly a cash society.

Let us know if you are aware of updates to the countries mentioned above or other countries that should be added to the list.

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