Global Feed

Sure, King George III's pesky tea tax served as a catalyst for the United States' rebellion against Great Britain. King George III in 1755, courtesy National Portrait Gallery, London. Click image to hear G3's first song, which mentions the tea to-do, in the Broadway musical "Hamilton." But once we worked through that independence thing, we Americans discovered that we still have a lot in common with the United Kingdom. And that includes, unfortunately, tax scams. U.K. HMRC tax phishing: Taxpayers across the pond have been getting phishing emails from tax crooks encouraging them to download an attached document in order... Read more →


A little more than a month ago, inquiring tax eyes were focused on Panama. Specifically, folks were curious about a law firm in that Central American nation that allegedly helps the wealthy stash cash in global accounts that are out of reach of their nations' tax collectors. ICIJ has produced a video, The Panama Papers: Victims of Offshore, that shows what the organization says are the unseen victims behind the email chains, invoices and documents that make up the Panama Papers and the shadowy offshore industry. A couple of U.S. states, Nevada and Wyoming, were named as international tax haven... Read more →


Brothels are legal in New South Wales, Australia, so officials there had no problem when Jamelie Lahood ran the Stiletto brothel for more than a decade until 2014. A room at Stiletto, a high-end brothel in Sydney, Australia. Photo from the bordello's Instagram account. However, Australian tax officials do take issue with the nearly $2 million ($1.5 million in U.S. currency) they say Lahood owes from her earnings as boss of the self-described "world's finest short stay boutique hotel and Sydney brothel." The money Lahood made operating Stiletto between 2008 and 2014 placed her among the top 0.1 percent of... Read more →


Nearly 10 million households didn't have bank accounts in 2013, according to the latest survey of individuals' banking habits by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). That's a lot of folks for whom cash is king. That's also a lot of people for whom paying a federal tax bill is not that easy … until now. Taxpayers who want to pay their Internal Revenue Service bills in cash now can do so at some 7-Eleven stores. Tax cash: As I noted last week at my other tax blog, the 7-Eleven cash tax payment option is available thanks to an arrangement... Read more →


Here in the United States, the income gap between the very wealthy and the rest of us is getting a lot of attention, thanks in large part to the Democratic presidential nominee race. Sen. Bernie Sanders has made the wealth gap a key part of his effort to dislodge former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton from the front-runner spot. Image source: ZMEScience But the battle is waging far beyond the U.S. borders and the 2016 presidential campaign. Global inequity off the charts: There's also a global inequality crisis, says Oxfam in a new report, and it is reaching new extremes.... Read more →


When you say "mascot" to an American, we immediately think of the characters and creatures associated with sports teams. In Japan, however, mascots have more expansive, and official, roles. The Japanese are obsessed with mascots that range from happy animals to mutated foodstuffs to saucer-eyed humanoids that promote, according to a recent New York Times article, seemingly every town, business and arm of government in the island nation. And yes, that includes Japanese tax offices. Osaka Prefecture, says the newspaper story, has two different dog mascots for separate tax departments. Taxhound talks taxes: An Internet search turned up a 2011... Read more →


In the largest ever gathering of world leaders, the global representatives of 196 nations on Dec. 12 signed a historic climate change pact. The consensus of great global powers and some of the planet's poorest nations alike was that the landmark agreement is necessary to make changes in human behavior that will slow and limit the earth's increasing temperature. A new study, however, suggests that people worldwide need to make a change in their eating habits. And one way to accomplish such a dietary change might be a meat tax. Would a tax on your steak and other meat cause... Read more →


No business sector is off limits when it comes to taxes. That's the message from Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC), which last week announced formation of an adult entertainment task force. The special investigative unit of Great Britain's version of the Internal Revenue Service will target strip clubs and online escort agencies that it suspects are covering up thousands of pounds a day in profits, thereby evading value added tax (VAT), income tax and national insurance payments. Billions in unreported earnings: HMRC says the adult entertainment industry, including but not limited to strippers, escort agencies and lap dancing clubs,... Read more →


Millions of Americans are thinking about travel this holiday week. So is Congress, but on a larger scale. As the House and Senate work out details of a long-term transportation bill, one funding road sign is clear. International travelers will help pay for domestic road and transit projects. Photo courtesy Mike via Flickr CC Lawmakers in both chambers have agreed on a provision that would direct the State Department to deny passports to taxpayers who are "seriously delinquent" in their tax payments. State also could rescind existing passports of affected taxpayers. The highway bill funding measure is projected to bring... Read more →


Tax evasion is a global problem. Around the world, countries are struggling to make sure that their citizens are paying the taxes they owe. Here in the United States, we try both the stick (audits and even criminal prosecution in some cases) and the carrot (tax breaks) to encourage compliance. The Internal Revenue Service has sweetened the tax reporting pot, especially for those who are hiding their funds in out-of-country accounts. While many tax havens are in tropical locales, you can find places to hide money from the tax man all over the world. For some, the United States is... Read more →


When Donald Trump finally released his tax plan on Sept. 28, he included a provision he says would encourage U.S. based-companies to companies to bring their overseas earnings -- and jobs and tax payments -- home. Companies nowadays operate, and pay taxes, well beyond the boundaries of the county in which they are headquartered. Image by Effervescent Me via Flickr. Trump's proposal for a one-time repatriation of corporate cash held abroad at a discounted 10 percent tax rate is nothing new. One of his GOP presidential nominee competitors, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, previously released his tax plan that calls... Read more →


Greece, despite another bailout from Eurozone lenders, is still struggling to get its economy together. Now it faces another internal threat: bartering. The New York Times reports that as the Mediterranean country "grapples with a continued downturn, bartering is gaining traction at the margins of the economy" because money is just not readily available. Liz Alderman writes: "Graphic artists are exchanging designs for olive oil. Accountants swap advice for office supplies. In the agricultural heartland and on the Greek islands, informal bartering, which has historically helped communities survive, has intensified as more people exchange fruits, vegetables, other crops, equipment, clothing... Read more →


As the global refugee crisis continues to grow, Pope Francis has a warning for churches. Open your doors to these displaced people or pay taxes. Photo by R LeMoyne courtesy United Nations The Pontiff's message about caring for those in need shouldn't come as a surprise. He has spent his life ministering to the poor and he's carried that message with him as the head of the Catholic Church. But his no-nonsense assessment of how some churches take tax advantage of their special status has taken some aback. Heavenly guidelines for worldly acts: "On Judgment Day we already know how... Read more →


I don't have children, and I never played one on TV. But I was a kid once and I still remember the early money lessons from my parents. This little guy is too young for a discussion about money and taxes, but a solid financial education for current and future taxpayers could be key to improving a country's tax compliance rate. Most notably, everything has a price. One year when my younger brother and I had exceptionally long Christmas lists, we defended our extreme requests by noting that the items would come from Santa Claus. Our mom, not wanting to... Read more →


For many international travelers, exploring another country offers a bonus: picking up a few items at the airport's duty-free store. Duty-free shopping at the Oslo, Norway, airport; image courtesy Wikimedia Commons OK, for some travelers, the tax-free airport shopping is the best thing about their trips. And they buy much more than a few items. In case you've missed this experience, duty-free shops sell products without collecting the local import tax. In Europe, duty-free shops in airports and ports are tax-free shops, too, which means you don't pay the value added tax, or VAT (aka Europe's version of sales tax),... Read more →


As Greece continues its efforts to get its finances in order, the country still is struggling with tax collection. Many businesses throughout the Mediterranean nation try to do as much business as possible in cash. The lack of record keeping for cash transactions makes it easier for them to avoid paying tax. Apparently, though, it's not just sellers of goods at Greek markets who are looking for ways to skirt the country's taxes. A component of a respected cultural institution has come under scrutiny. Greek officials have launched a tax fraud inquiry into one of the country's most visited archaeological... Read more →


The highway funding bill that President Obama signed today may be short-term (money runs out again on Oct. 29) when it comes to providing money for roads and infrastructure, but it will have some lasting tax effects. Here are some of the tax highlights from the Surface Transportation and Veterans Health Care Choice Improvement Act of 2015. More mortgage reporting: Mortgage lenders already issue annual statements, either the official Form 1098 or an approved substitute document, to borrowers and the Internal Revenue Service. This form goes to homeowners who paid at least $600 loan interest during the tax year and... Read more →


Americans and Canadians share a lot of things. There's the coast-to-coast border. There are National Hockey League teams. There's even a common language, or two for French-speaking residents in both countries. We do not, however, share the same tax system. Canada-United States border marker image by rlyx6x via imgur Some tax scammers, though, are hoping they can find a few Canadians who might not notice that they're using a script cribbed from crooks south of the 49th parallel. Blair Rhodes, in a report for the CBC, tells of a recorded message being left on Canadians' answering services: "Notice against your... Read more →


You can't blame tax cheats if one of Martha and the Vandellas' biggest hits has been playing on a loop in their heads of late. Thanks to a new global effort, tax evaders will have nowhere to run to, nowhere to hide. Crossing borders to chase down tax cheats: Tax Inspectors Without Borders, or TIWB, is a new initiative from the United Nations (UN) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Its goal, is as its name indicates, is to send trained tax professionals from richer OECD nations into other, less-developed member countries to help beef up tax... Read more →


Greece's future, both financially and as part of the Eurozone, remains unclear as the Mediterranean country and its creditors struggle to come to an agreement on what should be done about its persistent inability to pay its bills. UPDATE Monday, July 13, 2015: European leaders agree to tough Greek rescue plan. In simplest terms, the Greeks borrowed more money than they can pay back. The New York Times offers a more detailed look at how Greece got to this financial crisis point. At issue now is a three-year bailout of 53.5 billion euros, or $59 billion. It's not a new... Read more →