Sunday, May 27, 2012

EU fin trans tax

The EU proposes an FTT of 0.1% for shares and bonds and 0.01% for derivatives, after a couple of years of debate:
Parliament has been calling for a financial transaction tax for close to two years and the Commission tabled a legislative proposal for one late in 2011.  The latest Eurobarometer survey shows that 66% of Europeans favour such a tax.
It's designed to slow down speculative trading of course and includes this compliance measure:

The resolution also raises the stakes to make evading the FTT potentially far more expensive than paying it. Taking the UK stamp duty approach, the text links payment of the FTT to the acquisition of legal ownership rights. This means that if the buyer of a security did not pay the FTT, he or she would not be legally certain of owning that security.  As FTT rates would be low, this risk is expected to far outweigh any potential financial gain from evasion.
Like buying a car, you can't get a license plate unless you pay your sales taxes; here, no tax, no title.  But compliance is complicated, is it not, by existing rules that allow for confidentiality of ownership and chains of ownership through trusts etc outside the jurisdiction?  I'm not sure the stamp duty method can cope with this.

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