International tax arbitrage has come under intense scrutiny since the global financial crisis and is usually portrayed as a form of aggressive tax avoidance. Press coverage has often shown little understanding of the distinction between tax avoidance and tax evasion, describing the legitimate behavior of taxpayer banks, financial institutions, and multinational businesses in emotive terms and often inaccurately. This book looks at tax arbitrage and demystifies its practice. In a world where tax competition, rather than tax harmonization, is the predominant norm, international tax arbitrage is a form of legitimate tax planning. The book starts with a review of some of the press coverage (including recent court cases) and examines campaigns by the Uncut pressure group. It considers the confusion over the boundary between 'legality' and 'morality,' and it covers the responses of tax authorities in major Western economies to calls for tax reform. It also considers the role of jurisdictional competition in tax avoidance arbitrage and the approach taken by a number of countries - such as the UK, Ireland, and Netherlands - to fiscal policy. A review of recent law reports - in the US, the UK, Italy, France, New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa - involving tax arbitrage helps to explain how it works, with detailed descriptions from court cases and flow charts of the structured finance arrangements. The appendices include an extract from the OECD Report Building Transparent Tax Compliance by Banks on international arbitrage financing transactions, and the UK's Code of Practice on Taxation for Banks with guidance notes.
Publication Date: 4/6/2011