Financial Regulatory Forum

UK slaps tax on bank bonuses, to spread pain later

A trader looks at her screens before Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling's pre-budget speech, on a trading floor in London December 9, 2009.  Darling set the stage for the coming election, announcing on Wednesday a one-off super tax on bank bonuses and other higher taxes on the rich.    REUTERS/Andrew Winning (BRITAIN - Tags: BUSINESS POLITICS EMPLOYMENT)  By Sumeet Desai

LONDON, Dec 9 (Reuters) – Britain’s Labour government slapped a one-off levy on bank bonuses on Wednesday and said it would hike income tax for all but the poorest in 2011, delaying action to tackle a record deficit until after an election it is expected to lose.

Despite warnings by ratings agencies that debt has to be reined in, finance minister Alistair Darling revised up his borrowing forecast for this year to a record 177.6 billion pounds ($290 billion) or 12.6 percent of GDP, from 175 billion.

Next year’s borrowing forecast was also revised up by 3 billion pounds in a pre-budget report that would normally be full of populist giveaways given an election is due in less than six months and Labour is well behind in opinion polls.

Darling tried to set out Labour’s electoral pitch, promising to protect schools, hospitals and the police from the sharp spending cuts that will have to be felt almost everywhere else.

He also talked about getting the wealthy to pay their share, trying to draw a distinction between Labour as the party of hard-working families against a Conservative Party it says is more interested in protecting the interests of the rich.

Darling says will not harm UK’s financial sector

 A man looks out over Hampstead Heath, with the City of London in the background October 29, 2009.   By Matt Falloon and Steve Slater

HORSHAM, England, Dec 7 (Reuters) – The British government will not do anything to hurt London’s financial prowess and would rather go too far with economic support measures than not go far enough, Finance Minister Alistair Darling said on Monday.

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Swiss to hand over US names of wealthy UBS clients

UBS/TAX   By Jason Rhodes
   BERNE, Nov 17 (Reuters) – Switzerland will hand over the names of wealthy U.S. clients of UBS <UBSN.VX> suspected of tax evasion or fraud, to settle a bitter row that cut through bank secrecy and threatened to bring the bank to its knees. (more…)

Swiss bank J.Baer says tax clampdowns slow money flows

By Jason Rhodes
ZURICH, Nov 10 (Reuters) – Swiss private bank Julius Baer Group AG said money from wealthy clients had been flowing into the group at a slower pace since mid-year due to international tax clampdowns.

Baer, which split its core private bank and asset management operations into two separately listed companies last month, also said on Tuesday it was seeking more acquisitions following its purchase of ING’s Swiss private banking assets.

“We are still open to acquisitions. In principle, the bigger the better,” said spokesman Jan Bielinski, adding Baer was looking in Asia, Switzerland and the rest of Europe.

Britain’s offshore havens asked to bump up taxes

By Huw Jones
LONDON, Oct 29 (Reuters) – Britain’s overseas financial havens should bump up taxes to wean their economies off credit crunch hit banking, insurance and funds services, a government-commissioned report said on Thursday.

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French lower house of parliament backs bank tax

PARIS, Oct 23 (Reuters) – France’s lower house of parliament on Friday approved a plan to impose a 10 percent tax on bank profits in 2010 despite opposition from the government.The National Assembly, adopted the opposition-proposed measure by 44 votes to 40.

However, a source in President Nicolas Sarkozy’s ruling UMP party said the government would ask for a new vote, claiming a technical problem because two UMP deputies had accidentally voted the wrong way.

There are 577 deputies in the lower house and President Nicolas Sarkozy’s centre-right UMP party has a comfortable majority but many were absent for the evening vote.

FACTBOX-Tax amnesties around the world

    Oct 15 (Reuters) – A U.S. voluntary disclosure programme that helps wealthy Americans avoid criminal prosecution when disclosing secret offshore bank accounts expires on Oct. 15. (more…)

Hidden Swiss funds must return in Italian tax amnesty

SANMARINO/    ROME, Oct 10 (Reuters) – Italians who hold undeclared funds in Switzerland, Montecarlo and San Marino must repatriate them to be covered by a new tax amnesty, unlike other countries and the EU, the Italian tax agency said on Saturday. (more…)

ANALYSIS-Obama faces clamor for action on economy

By Caren Bohan
WASHINGTON, Oct 8 (Reuters) – As the U.S. unemployment rate climbs toward 10 percent, President Barack Obama is facing a rising clamor from within his Democratic party to take new steps to lift the economy and jump-start job growth. (more…)

IMF chief: “simplistic” financial tax won’t work

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, managing director, International Monetary Fund (IMF), is introduced at the International Economic Forum of the Americas conference in Montreal, June 8, 2009.  REUTERS/Christinne Muschi (CANADA BUSINESS POLITICS)    ISTANBUL, Oct 2 (Reuters) – International Monetary Fund Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn said on Friday a “simplistic” tax on financial transactions would not be a good idea, but the IMF will continue work on proposals for systemic risk funding from the financial sector. (more…)

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