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Chase Bank Limits Cash Withdrawals, Bans International... Before you read this report, remember to sign up to for 100% free stock alerts Chase Bank has moved to limit cash withdrawals while banning business customers from sending...

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Richemont chairman Johann Rupert to take 'grey gap... Billionaire 62-year-old to take 12 months off from Cartier and Montblanc luxury goods groupRichemont's chairman and founder Johann Rupert is to take a year off from September, leaving management of the...

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Cambodia: aftermath of fatal shoe factory collapse... Workers clear rubble following the collapse of a shoe factory in Kampong Speu, Cambodia, on Thursday

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Spate of recent shock departures by 50-something CEOs While the rising financial rewards of running a modern multinational have been well publicised, executive recruiters say the pressures of the job have also been ratcheted upOn approaching his 60th birthday...

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UK Uncut loses legal challenge over Goldman Sachs tax... While judge agreed the deal was 'not a glorious episode in the history of the Revenue', he ruled it was not unlawfulCampaign group UK Uncut Legal Action has lost its high court challenge over the legality...

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VIDEO: Hugh’s Review: Is the recovery underway?

Category : Business

Hugh Pym and guests discusses this week’s figures for economic output which showed that the UK avoided a so called triple dip recession.

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The predatory practices of major accountancy firms | Prem Sikka

Category : Business

Despite the evidence of fraudulent schemes, no firm has ever been disciplined by any professional accountancy body

George Osborne’s attack on organised tax avoidance is a huge disappointment. Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is investigating some 41,000 tax avoidance schemes, but there is still no investigation of the industry that designs and markets aggressive tax avoidance schemes.

In contrast to the UK, reports by various US Senate committees have been critical of the predatory practices of the major accountancy firms (for examples, see here, here and here). KPMG was fined $456m (£284m) for facilitating tax evasion and a number of its former personnel have been sent to prison, as have some of the former personnel of Ernst & Young.

Now the public accounts committee (PAC) chair Margaret Hodge has PricewaterhouseCoopers PwC, Ernst & Young, KPMG and Deloitte in her sights. The PAC should investigate the role of these firms in organised tax avoidance. An earlier internal HMRC study estimated that these four firms “were behind almost half of all known avoidance schemes“.

Some of the evidence about their predatory practices is on the public record. In November 2012, a tax tribunal threw out an Ernst & Young inspired scheme that enabled Iliffe News and Media to create a new asset – newspaper mastheads. This asset was created for a nominal sum of £1. It was leased back to its subsidiaries who paid the parent company over £51m in royalties and thus reported lower profits. No cash left the group but the companies now sought tax relief on royalty payments to reduce their corporation tax bill. The company’s board minutes stated that Ernst & Young, who audited the company’s financial statements as well, confirmed that the use of the scheme would also “significantly lessen the transparency of reported results”.

PricewaterhouseCoopers devised a scheme to enable a rich entrepreneur to avoid capital gains tax on profits of £10.7m. A tax tribunal heard that the scheme involved a series of circular and self-cancelling transactions resulting in the creation of assets and disposals which somehow managed to generate a loss of £11m and thus cancelled out the profit. The scheme was thrown out by a tribunal, and in August 2012 by the court of appeal. The presiding judge said that “there was no asset and no disposal. There was no real loss”. This scheme was sold to 200 entrepreneurs and if successful, would have enabled them to avoid capital gains tax on profits of around £1bn.

KPMG devised a scheme for an amusement arcade company to avoid paying VAT on its operations. The scheme was not developed in response to any request from the company; KPMG cold called the company. Its presentations were subject to a confidentiality undertaking being given. A 16-page report cited by the tribunal said that by using Channel Islands entities, the company’s profits could improve by £4.2mn. KPMG charged £75,000 plus VAT for an evaluation report and counsel’s opinion, and a fee of 25% of the first year’s VAT avoided, 15% of the second and 5% of the next three year’s VAT avoided. KPMG felt that the UK tax authorities would regard the scheme as “unacceptable tax avoidance” and would challenge the arrangements, but still sold it. The case subsequently went to the high court and the European court of justice and the scheme was quashed.

We are all suffering from the bankers’ follies. But Deloitte devised a scheme to enable bankers to avoid income tax and national insurance contributions on £91m of bonuses. More than 300 bankers participated in the scheme, which operated through a Cayman Islands-registered investment vehicle. A tax tribunal threw out the scheme and the presiding judge said that “the scheme as a whole, and each aspect of it, was created and coordinated purely for tax avoidance purposes”.

The above only provides a tiny glimpse of the predatory practices of major accountancy firms. They create sham transactions, phoney losses and phantom assets to enable their clients to dodge taxes. Despite the evidence, no accountancy firm has ever been disciplined by any professional accountancy body. Despite spending millions of pounds to quash predatory schemes, the UK Treasury has never sought to recover the legal costs from the promoters of the schemes. Instead, the big accountancy firms continue to receive taxpayer funded contracts.

No government will be able to effectively tackle tax avoidance without shackling the designers and enablers. It is hoped that the public accounts committee will investigate the role of the big accountancy firms in tax avoidance.

UK teachers paid by offshore firm

Category : World News

A company employing thousands of public sector workers has avoided paying millions of pounds in employer National Insurance contributions.

See the article here: UK teachers paid by offshore firm

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Starbucks dismisses tax avoidance claims

Category : Business

‘We have never avoided paying taxes’, says coffee company as latest profit figures are announced

Starbucks executives have dismissed charges that it has underpaid its European tax bills.

Politicians in the UK, Germany and France have called for investigations into the coffee company following Reuters reports into the firm’s tax arrangements.

According to the news agency, the firm told investors its European businesses made a $40m (£25m) profit in 2011, but filed accounts that showed a $60m loss.

“We have never avoided paying taxes,” said Michelle Gass, Starbucks European president, as the company announced its latest earnings. She said the company had an “openness and willingness” to discuss its taxes, adding: “We look forward to clarifying our position in the days and weeks to come.”

The Seattle-based company reported a net profit of $359m for the quarter ended 30 September, compared with a year-earlier profit of $358.5m. The company had revenues of $283.7 in Europe and the middle east, slightly less than last year, and reported a loss for the region of $6.5m.

The Starbucks tax controversy comes as politicians and activists continue to highlight tax avoidance tactics used by multinational companies including Amazon and Google, which make significant sums in their UK subsidiaries but pay little in tax.

Starbucks has not paid tax in the UK for three years, Reuters reported last month, adding that it has paid £8.6m of income tax since 1998 on £3.1bn of sales by reporting consistent losses.

Starbucks paid no tax on its UK earnings for the past three years after recording annual losses. But Reuters reported that US executives claimed in telephone calls with investors that the UK business was profitable.

Starbucks has become a target for UK Uncut, the protest group that has targeted banks and firms including Topshop retailer Arcadia and Vodafone, gluing up locks and organising sitins.

The House of Commons public accounts committee has asked senior officials from all three companies to address the issues at a hearing later this month. Margaret Hodge, who chairs the committee, told parliament last month that Apple, eBay, Facebook, Google and Starbucks had avoided nearly £900m of tax.

Prime minister David Cameron responded to the claim by saying: “I’m not happy with the current situation. I think [HM Revenue & Customs] needs to look at it very carefully. We do need to make sure we are encouraging these businesses to invest in our country as they are but they should be paying fair taxes as well.”

Politicians in Germany and France have also called for an explanation.

Free banking claim ‘ridiculous’

Category : Business, World News

A claim that mis-selling at UK banks might have been avoided if fees were charged for accounts is branded as “ridiculous”.

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Editorial Feature: Colorado Shooting Brings Questions of Urban Security

Category : Stocks, World News

ATLANTA, GA–(Marketwire – Jul 20, 2012) – ATLANTA, GA The topic of urban security has been front and center this week following a bar shooting in Tuscaloosa, Ala. on Tuesday and today’s massacre at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo. Secured Cities Conference Director Geoffrey Kohl was interviewed by ABC NEWS about the story and how it might have been avoided.

Follow this link: Editorial Feature: Colorado Shooting Brings Questions of Urban Security

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Sedins, Cory Schneider help keep Canucks alive

Category : World News

Daniel Sedin had an assist in his return from a concussion, Cory Schneider made 43 saves and the Vancouver Canucks avoided elimination with a 3-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings in Game 4 of their Western Conference quarter-final on Wednesday night.

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UK economy ‘to stall until 2013′

Category : Business, World News

The UK may have avoided a double-dip recession, but the economy will stall for the rest of the year, an independent forecasting group says.

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Should firms which don’t comply with the code of conduct on tax be fined?

Category : Business

Barclays will have to pay the tax it would have avoided if it had been allowed to go ahead with two schemes, but will face no further penalty. Is this right?

See more here: Should firms which don’t comply with the code of conduct on tax be fined?

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How to Boost Retirement Income

Category : Business

LOS ALTOS, Calif. (TheStreet) — What should you do if you need more retirement income from your portfolio?

People often ask about income investing. My contrarian opinion is that sometimes it is better to meekly accept a low yield from a low-risk, high-quality bond mutual fund than chase after high-yielding junk bond types of investments. If someone needs more cash flow than a low-yield allows, they will simply have to sell off and spend down a sliver of principal each year until the economy returns to normal and rates go up and default risk — hopefully — goes down.

You may feel you need more income in retirement, but there traps to be avoided in pursuing it.

Go here to read the rest: How to Boost Retirement Income

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