Europe, Middle East and Africa Oil and Gas Correspondent
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May 22, 2015

Special Report: Britain’s home-grown tax haven

LONDON (Reuters) – One hallowed feature of Britain’s finances is a tax break for individuals called “non-domiciled status.” The break, which is more than 200 years old, is designed to attract foreign investors by allowing them to keep wealth they make abroad out of the reach of the British tax authority. Tax specialists say Britain is the only developed country to have such a system.

But a Reuters analysis shows that some “non doms,” as they are known, have also found a way to use the status to avoid tax on money made in the United Kingdom.

May 22, 2015

UK ‘non-doms’ and their British offshore firms

LONDON, May 22 (Reuters) – “Non-domiciled” status lets
British residents use offshore trusts to keep profits made on
British businesses out of reach of the tax authority. Here are
some of the non doms who have held assets offshore:

 South-Africa born Abe Jaffe built automobile dealership
Currie Motors, which operates under the slogan “nice people to
do business with,” into an operation with turnover of 170
million pounds ($266 million at current rates) before he died
in 2009. Currie Motors and his British property interests were
held by a Dutch holding company, Curfin Holdings BV, controlled
by a family trust. The value of Currie Motors and the property
assets at the time of his death was around 124 million pounds,
filings show. A spokesman said the structure was established in
the late 1970s “primarily for asset protection in an uncertain
South African political environment” and added the family paid
all the appropriate taxes.

May 22, 2015

Britain’s home-grown tax haven

LONDON, May 22 (Reuters) – One hallowed feature of Britain’s
finances is a tax break for individuals called “non-domiciled
status.” The break, which is more than 200 years old, is
designed to attract foreign investors by allowing them to keep
wealth they make abroad out of the reach of the British tax
authority. Tax specialists say Britain is the only developed
country to have such a system.

But a Reuters analysis shows that some “non doms,” as they
are known, have also found a way to use the status to avoid tax
on money made in the United Kingdom.

May 19, 2015

Political insiders benefit from tax break on UK party giving

LONDON (Reuters) – When British businessman Robert Durward decided to spend 1.9 million pounds ($2.9 million) funding a new free-market political party in the mid-2000s, friends said he was wasting his money. Years after his “New Party” collapsed, he agrees, telling Reuters it was “a complete and utter waste of time.”

But in one way at least, Durward was more astute than his friends gave him credit for. That’s because, rather than donating the money personally, he gave via his company, Cloburn Quarry Company Ltd.

May 19, 2015

Special Report: For UK political donors, an unintended tax break

LONDON (Reuters) – Some of Britain’s biggest political donors, including a dozen senior lawmakers, have benefited from a little-noticed loophole that lets them avoid tax on millions of pounds in donations to political parties, a Reuters analysis has found.

Reuters is the first to measure the loophole, which offers political parties – and in some cases, individual politicians or their families – an unintended gift from the taxpayer.

May 13, 2015

New tax powers for Scotland unlikely to bring big changes

LONDON (Reuters) – The government of Scotland, expected to win the long-coveted power to set some tax rates, is unlikely to make big changes despite pledges by its ruling Scottish National Party to spend more, reduce taxes on businesses and raise them on the rich.

The SNP, which already governs Scotland with the most seats in its provincial parliament, emerged as its dominant political force in UK national elections last week, winning 56 of 59 Scottish seats in Britain’s House of Commons despite having lost a referendum on independence last year.

Apr 28, 2015

Special Report: For UK political donors, an unintended tax break

LONDON (Reuters) – Some of Britain’s biggest political donors, including a dozen senior lawmakers, have benefited from a little-noticed loophole that lets them avoid tax on millions of pounds in donations to political parties, a Reuters analysis has found.

Reuters is the first to measure the loophole, which offers political parties – and in some cases, individual politicians or their families – an unintended gift from the taxpayer.

Apr 28, 2015

Political insiders benefit from tax break on UK party giving

LONDON (Reuters) – When British businessman Robert Durward decided to spend 1.9 million pounds ($2.9 million) funding a new free-market political party in the mid-2000s, friends said he was wasting his money. Years after his “New Party” collapsed, he agrees, telling Reuters it was “a complete and utter waste of time.”

But in one way at least, Durward was more astute than his friends gave him credit for. That’s because, rather than donating the money personally, he gave via his company, Cloburn Quarry Company Ltd.

Apr 13, 2015

Oil companies’ profits hit by quest for crude price exposure

LONDON (Reuters) – The drop in big oil companies’ profits in the past eight months isn’t just a function of lower crude prices – it also reflects strategic choices.

A Reuters examination of corporate filings by some of the biggest players in the industry, including BP (BP.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), Shell (RDSa.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and France’s Total (TOTF.PA: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), shows the sensitivity of these companies’ earnings to changes in oil prices has risen in recent years.

Apr 8, 2015

Shell-BG deal could face bumpy ride from partner rights

LONDON (Reuters) – Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s (RDSa.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) agreed $70 billion takeover of rival BG Group (BG.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) could trigger pre-emption rights in key oil and gas fields that would erode the potential benefits of the deal for the Anglo-Dutch oil giant.

Shell said a main driver of its bid for BG Group was the gas-focused British group’s position in Brazil. Two exploration blocks, named BM-S-9 and BM-S-11, account for almost all the value of BG’s Brazil assets.

    • About Tom

      "Tom leads our coverage of the oil and gas industry in Europe, the Middle East and Africa and is also author of 'Spills & Spin: The Inside Story of BP'. A former oil broker who turned to journalism 12 years ago, he is regularly interviewed on CNBC and other TV and radio stations on energy matters. Tom has reported from over twenty countries including Iran, Iraq, India, Pakistan, Tanzania, the U.S. and Russia. As Europe, Middle East and Africa Oil & Gas Correspondent, he has chartered the rise in oil prices to record levels, interviewed oil ministers and the CEOs of ..."
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