Europe, Middle East and Africa Oil and Gas Correspondent
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Dec 20, 2013

The Great British tax giveaway

LONDON, Dec 20 (Reuters) – When Neil Withington, the legal
director of British American Tobacco (BAT) and the firm’s
largest British shareholder, files his next tax return, he will
receive a little help from the state. Like every other UK
taxpayer, he will be entitled to a tax credit on any dividend
payment he receives. He can use it to reduce his total bill.

The credit is intended to compensate shareholders for the
fact that dividends are paid out of income which has already
been subject to UK corporate income tax. To help avoid the same
money being taxed twice, the UK trims its levy on dividends.

Dec 19, 2013

Imperial Tobacco settles UK tax dispute

LONDON, Dec 19 (Reuters) – Imperial Tobacco said it
paid around 170 million pounds ($279 million) in UK corporation
tax in its 2013 financial year, more than its total UK tax bill
for the previous seven years, after settling a dispute with the
tax authority.

Public frustration at government austerity measures and
revelations of corporate tax avoidance in the past two years
have led to pressure on the tax authority, Her Majesty’s Revenue
and Customs (HMRC), to take a tougher line with big companies

Dec 17, 2013

Insight: The Luxembourg tax break that helps firms profit from loss

LONDON (Reuters) – “Life in Luxembourg is simply different,” says its government website. The same could be said of tax in the Grand Duchy. It’s known for its generous tax policies, but what’s less familiar is a Luxembourg rule that lets companies cut their income taxes using costs that they haven’t actually borne – a break offered by almost no other state.

The rule, which dates back to World War Two, helps companies save hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes each year, a Reuters analysis of the accounts of several major international corporations shows. The profits that escape tax have often not been earned in Luxembourg, but in countries like Britain, the United States and Germany. Those countries may lose out.

Dec 17, 2013

The Luxembourg tax break that helps firms profit from loss

LONDON, Dec 17 (Reuters) – “Life in Luxembourg is simply
different,” says its government website. The same could be said
of tax in the Grand Duchy. It’s known for its generous tax
policies, but what’s less familiar is a Luxembourg rule that
lets companies cut their income taxes using costs that they
haven’t actually borne – a break offered by almost no other
state.

The rule, which dates back to World War Two, helps companies
save hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes each year, a
Reuters analysis of the accounts of several major international
corporations shows. The profits that escape tax have often not
been earned in Luxembourg, but in countries like Britain, the
United States and Germany. Those countries may lose out.

Dec 2, 2013

Insight: UK power price rises prompt questions of network owners, regulator

LONDON (Reuters) – In 2006, Britain’s energy regulator reviewed how the gas and electricity market was functioning. Summarising its findings, it noted the possibility that its rules on pricing had been overly generous to the network owners.

The report was one of many produced by regulator Ofgem, tasked by the government with overseeing an industry that was broken up and sold off by the state during the 1980s and 1990s. The report went little noticed at the time.

Dec 2, 2013

UK power price rises prompt questions of network owners, regulator

LONDON, Dec 2 (Reuters) – In 2006, Britain’s energy
regulator reviewed how the gas and electricity market was
functioning. Summarising its findings, it noted the possibility
that its rules on pricing had been overly generous to the
network owners.

The report was one of many produced by regulator Ofgem,
tasked by the government with overseeing an industry that was
broken up and sold off by the state during the 1980s and 1990s.
The report went little noticed at the time.

Nov 22, 2013

Luxembourg, Cyprus, Switzerland fail tax transparency test – OECD

LONDON, Nov 22 (Reuters) – Luxembourg, Cyprus, the British
Virgin Islands, Switzerland and the Seychelles do not meet
international standards on tax transparency, potentially putting
investments in the countries at risk, a global tax forum said on
Friday.

The five either failed to share taxpayer information with
other countries or to gather information on beneficial ownership
of corporate entities registered on their territory, or both,
said the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of
Information for Tax Purposes.

Nov 22, 2013

Luxembourg, Cyprus, BVI, Seychelles fail tax transparency rules-OECD

LONDON, Nov 22 (Reuters) – Luxembourg, Cyprus, the British
Virgin Islands and the Seychelles do not meet international
standards on tax transparency, a global tax forum said on
Friday, as international pressure grows on countries seen as tax
havens.

The four failed to share taxpayer information with other
countries effectively or to gather information on beneficial
ownership of corporate entities registered on their territory,
said the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of
Information for Tax Purposes.

Oct 23, 2013

Big companies push back against G20 tax avoidance plan

LONDON (Reuters) – Big companies have pushed back against an international drive to crack down on corporate tax avoidance, documents published by the body charged with drafting new rules showed on Wednesday.

The Paris-based OECD published letters from European companies including Diageo and Gazprom and groups representing the biggest U.S. multinationals asking it to reconsider proposed measures on transparency and on tackling tax avoidance, saying the plans could hit trade and investment.

Oct 15, 2013

Ireland to close Apple’s tax loophole, but leave bigger one open

LONDON/DUBLIN (Reuters) – Ireland said on Tuesday it planned to shut down a much-criticized tax arrangement used by Apple Inc to shelter over $40 billion from taxation – but will leave open an even bigger loophole that means the computer giant is unlikely to pay any more tax.

A U.S. Senate committee investigation revealed in May that Apple had cut billions from its tax bill by declaring companies registered in the Irish city of Cork as not tax resident in any country. Senator Carl Levin said the company had achieved the “holy grail of tax avoidance” with the structures.

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      "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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