Breakingviews

Dixon: How to rehabilitate capitalism

By Hugo Dixon
February 1, 2016

The classic leftist response to capitalism’s unfairness - tax and spend - has failed. A better bet is to fight unfairness caused by corruption, vested interests and tax cheating, while investing in education. India and Italy show some of the right ideas.

Johnson-Tyco inversion is insured against politics

January 25, 2016

U.S. building-controls maker Johnson Controls’ $16 bln purchase of Ireland-domiciled Tyco risks becoming a target for critics of tax-reducing deals. But with an expected $500 mln of yearly savings and a low 11 pct premium for Tyco’s owners, tax savings are gravy, not meat.

GE making wicked smaht HQ move to Boston

January 13, 2016

Despite being the capital of a state once derided as Taxachusetts, Beantown ticks boxes for a hulking global company. Relocating from a sleepy part of Connecticut to a university town with a startup and engineering culture, and solid infrastructure, should advance GE’s makeover.

Dixon: EU enters brave new world of bank bail-ins

By Hugo Dixon
January 4, 2016

Europe has wasted too much taxpayers’ money rescuing failing lenders. So it is right to try to get investors to help foot the bill in future. But the tough new regime carries political risks which could make the rumpus caused by recent bail-ins in Italy and Portugal look minor.

Banks’ low UK tax bill hands ammo to EU exit camp

December 23, 2015

Seven big investment banks paid just $31 mln of UK corporation tax on profit of $5.3 bln in 2014, Reuters has found. Historic losses reduced the bills, and taxes paid by employees remain chunky. But the revelations will help those agitating for Britain to quit the European Union.

Gulf states are on a collision course with tax

December 23, 2015

Wealthy populations in Arab sheikhdoms have mostly been spared taxation. Falling oil prices make that untenable. Laws are being drafted in the UAE for new levies on companies and consumers to offset falling revenue. Other countries in the region will follow.

Pfizer-Allergan to throw down tax-reform gauntlet

November 23, 2015

The drug firms are shrugging off Uncle Sam’s latest attempt to prevent mergers predicated on relocating to low-tax jurisdictions. The largest-ever inversion, at some $150 bln, ought to raise pressure on lawmakers to find more comprehensive fixes to the great M&A tax dodge.

Starbucks and Fiat dragged along in fair tax tide

By Edward Hadas
October 21, 2015

The European Commission’s classification of corporate tax favours as unfair state aid makes sense, even if the two companies broke no laws. Corporate treasurers should note the trend. Following bank tax secrecy, corporate tax havens are very gradually heading for extinction.

Tax shockers ramp up India investor risk premium

April 17, 2015

The country wants $6.4 billion in what it says are unpaid taxes from foreign funds. Private equity firms could be the next target. The frequent adjustments to tax policy raise a red flag. Investors will have to demand higher returns to insure against future fickleness.

India’s “tax terrorism” proves hard habit to kick

March 13, 2015

The government could honour a campaign pledge to make taxation more certain by scrapping a rule that allows it to seek payment for past transactions. That is politically fraught but may be less damaging than pursuing the likes of Britain’s Cairn Energy for old deals.