Attac Jersey is a Member of the International Tax Justice Network. We are Members of the Association for the Taxation of financial Transactions for the Benefit of Citizens, (ATTAC) and the Tax Justice Network, (TJN). The aims of both organisations are to research, educate and campaign to further public awareness. We are seeking to alleviate poverty through the creation of just taxation systems to fund social goods.

Thursday, December 30, 2010


 
Split Bailiff’s role in three: Civic head, speaker and senior judge



December 30, 2010 – 3:00 pm,  letter to the editor, JEP

From Nick Le Cornu,  

LORD Carswell’s report into the role of the Crown Officers is a timid republican document.
Its central recommendation that the Bailiff merely no longer preside as speaker of the States Assembly, is carefully crafted to the expediency of what is palatable to faint hearted States Members. 

The report fails, as it should, to recommend the creation of three distinct institutions, that of civic head, speaker of the legislature and senior Judge, unencumbered by multiple post holding by one person. They will come because these are the hallmarks of modern western democratic political systems.

Much of the defence of the status quo is by reference to heritage and tradition. This is simply myth making. Who can name a Bailiff pre-1940 let alone list two of his achievements?

Hanging on to the status quo is just not an option. The jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights clearly endorses the traditional concept of the separation of powers; that the three functions of government – legislative, executive and judicial – should be conferred to a separate body or authority, so that no individual should be a member of more than one of them. 

Sooner or later the present arrangements will fall foul of a critical legal judgment. The British government will exercise its authority, as it did over the constitution of Sark, to effect change, leading to inevitable humiliation for the Island. Jersey’s political class is rapidly becoming a liability because they cannot recognise when change is necessary, preferring bull headed obstinacy to pragmatism. 

In his recent interview with the BBC, Sir Philip Bailhache remarked: ‘If the Bailiff is no longer President of the States, a chain of reaction will begin and as night follows day that will change the constitutional arrangements for ever and the Bailiff will no longer be the civic head of the Island and something I believe will have been lost.’ 

One could easily dismiss such remarks as reactionary and apocalyptic – Après moi le déluge. I believe he is prescient in pointing out that once change begins it will not stop. 
Sir Philip is also correct to warn against retaining the Bailiff as civic head yet having an elected president of the States Assembly. This sweet compromise will crumble to dust. The choice he presents as one between irreversible change or the status quo, is really one between embracing modernity or preservation of the Ancien Régime. The day of democratic reckoning is close.

Sir Philip likens reforming the Bailiff’s role to that of abolishing constitutional monarchy. Curiously he suggests that the issue be put in the form of a referendum. Why this democratic gesture? 

Ought Louis XVI to have consulted the People if he could remain King when his ancestors had ruled France for 200 years? Perhaps we should be reminded of the words of Saint-Just in his speech to the Convention in 1792 that a king ‘doit régner ou mourir… On ne peut point régner innocemment.’ 

The real reason the political class favours a referendum is that they know they can easily win given there is 80% electoral abstention. It is not an acknowledgement of popular sovereignty, more a cynical manoeuvre of managing public opinion to endorse elite interests. Needless to say, a referendum in which only 20% vote does not confer legitimacy.

It is evident that the Jersey polity is a blocked one, with Crown Officers and a section of the States Assembly, being not just hostile to democratic reforms but intellectually bereft of their necessity. At stake is the issue of power. The political elite recognise their authority is insecure resting as it does on an indecent handful of votes from the wealthy in an electoral system designed to exclude participation. 

Sir Philip’s conduct in entering the political arena on this issue personifies precisely what it wrong with the present system. He may be an ex-Bailiff, but he comments whilst still a serving judge in the Jersey Court of Appeal. He also alludes enigmatically in his interview (JEP, 18 December) to a possible future political career.
Does this mean he will replace the white cockade of monarchy with that of the tricoleur, and step forth into the democratic era as Citizen Bailhache? 

Aux urnes citoyens.

Article posted on 30th December 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010



JERSEY - The UK has the power to intervene on tax matters. 


 by John Christensen   24/12/2010


please click on following link:


http://taxjustice.blogspot.com/2010/12/jersey-uk-has-power-to-intervene-on-tax.html    


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Thursday, December 16, 2010

 
Richard's letter to the Editor is in today's JEP www.thisisjersey.com
 

 

 

Zero-ten: It is Europe we have to worry about

December 16, 2010 – 3:00 pm

From Richard Murphy, director, Tax Research LLP.

SIR Philip Bailhache (JEP, 14 December) is wrong when he says Jersey’s fight over zero-ten is with the UK. It never has been, and it is not now.
 
Indeed, until 2009 it is almost certainly true that the UK provided considerable protection for the Crown Dependencies against the impact of the EU Code of Conduct on Business Taxation.
It is well known that Dawn Primarolo MP, who chaired this group for a decade while a UK Treasury Minister from 1997 onwards, took the view Jersey now promotes that personal taxation was outside the scope of the code and as such zero-ten worked despite the continued ring fence created by the enforced distributions of companies being taxable within the personal taxation system even though this was very obviously a blatant ruse designed to undermine the whole purpose of the code.
 
It was only in 2009 that this position changed in the Treasury, when more enlightened ministers stood back and looked at what they were being asked to support and realised it was akin to blatant and aggressive tax avoidance. They then withdrew their support for the position the Crown Dependencies have maintained. To their credit coalition ministers have supported this view.
 
Whether or not they did and do, however, is not relevant. It was always going to be the European Commission who reviewed the compliance of the Crown Dependencies with the code and their reviews, undertaken recently and which I have seen, are unambiguous. In terms of overall approach and in respect of three out of the five detailed areas where compliance is required the European Commission has found that the zero-ten systems of each Crown Dependency (including, implicitly, Guernsey) failed to comply with the code of conduct. This was not a UK decision. I stress, the technical analysis was done by EU staff. I have seen their work and the rulings are unambiguous. They have been adopted by EcoFin on behalf of the European Commission as a result.
 
It is equally unambiguous that the UK must comply with this decision and impose – I stress, impose, even if against the will of the Crown Dependencies – this decision on Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man. But that is not whether or not the Treasury wants to do so; it is because the EU requires the UK to do so because as far as the EU is concerned the Crown Dependencies are, at least for these purposes, part of the UK.
 
In that case almost all that Sir Philip Bailhache writes is straightforwardly wrong and thoroughly misleading, as is his claim that he is writing in his capacity as a lawyer. I doubt that. I think he is writing as a well-known proponent of Jersey becoming independent from the UK. No doubt in that context he would like a constitutional fight with the UK, but it’s one he can’t win, and nor can Jersey. That is because the costs of independence will be far higher when Jersey’s inability to manage its budget – which has now been ongoing for several years – becomes more starkly apparent as events develop over the next few years and Jersey needs every friend it has got to bail it out.
 
The reality is then that, as I predicted in 2005, Jersey has created a tax system which was always and very obviously going to fail to meet Europe’s requirements. I knew that at the time because unlike Jersey officials I went to Brussels and bothered to ask them. In which case it is now time for Jersey to stop laying down smoke screens and accept the truth which is that this is the time for it to stop abusing international rules on tax and get on and comply with them.
 

Article posted on 16th December, 2010 - 3.00pm

Saturday, December 11, 2010

LATEST NEWS ON ZERO-TEN

Please click on the following links for up-dates:


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Zero-Ten - There was no Treasury press release
 
Richard Murphy
 
www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2010/12/10/zero-ten-there-was-no-treasury-press-release 

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That mail on zero-ten from HM Treasury
 
Richard Murphy
 
www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2010/12/10/that-mail-on-zero-ten-from-hm-treasury 

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Zero-ten - the European Documents
 
Richard Murphy
 
www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2010/12/10/zero-ten-the-european-documents

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Monday, December 6, 2010

 Videos of the speeches of the Rally in the Royal Square at   noon on Saturday 4th December 2010  


Many thanks to Nick Le Cornu

Friday, December 3, 2010

Richard's message for the ordinary people of Jersey

from: Richard Murphy FCA, Tax Research UK

The Meeting
St Helier
Jersey

4 December 2010

Dear Friends

I’m sorry not to be with you this morning – in an island I love, and which is vital to all of
you.

I make the point deliberately. There are many who will say that what you’re doing today is
somehow “anti-Jersey” or “undermining Jersey’s international position”. They are wrong,
and you are right to protest.

Jersey is not the finance industry.

I can say even more certainly that the finance industry is not Jersey. Their commitment to
Jersey is as deep as the thickness of a Jersey £1 note. They use and abuse the island.

It is you – the real people of Jersey – who are committed to this island. And that’s why it’s
important your voices are heard today.

And you have important things to say.

You are saying no to more tax on the ordinary people of Jersey when the finance industry
is here in the island to make sure its clients pay no tax, anywhere.

You’re saying no to local business being taxed when foreign owned businesses working
here pay no tax – wholly unfairly.

You’re saying that the finance industry in Jersey can’t survive without local people
enjoying education, healthcare, public services, pensions and more – all of which the
finance industry should be paying for through tax. But finance is saying no to that – they’re
saying it’s your job to provide these things at your own cost so they can profit more. And
that’s wrong.

And you’re doing something even more important. You’re saying you want a Jersey you
can be proud of. A Jersey about which you can hold your head up high. A Jersey where the
taint of corruption, dodgy dealing or just straightforward tax avoidance is absent.

That is possible. I suggested recently that Jersey change tack and become the cleanest,
most transparent place in the world to do business. It could still have low taxes – but could
do so openly, honestly, and attract business that needs what Jersey says it can offer to
international finance – but in a way that everyone could see is fair, honest and open.
There’s nowhere in the world that does that. It could give Jersey its own unique niche in
the world – and guarantee jobs. It would be something to be really proud of. And finance
could then say “we’re doing good in the world – and can prove it.”

You would have thought the finance industry would have loved it. But they don’t. They say
they need secrecy for what they do.

Secrecy for what, you might ask?

Secrecy not to pay tax, that’s for sure.

And that means secrecy to hide that fact from you – in the hope that you will pay while
finance plays.

This is an unsustainable game. Jersey’s finances are in a complete mess – and it’s going to
get worse as a result of recent EU decisions – the importance of which Philip Ozouf is
denying.

This can’t go on. There’s a black hole in Jersey’s finances which cannot be filled – not
unless finance fill it – and they’re refusing to do so. In that case Jersey will be on the
bailout band-wagon before too long.

So you’re right to be here. It’s you who are arguing for the future of Jersey. You who are
arguing for the place you’re committed to. You who are the real Jersey patriots. You who
are looking for real solutions to Jersey’s problems – including its dependence on an
unsustainable finance industry if it stays in its present form. You who are having the
courage to face the future of this island.

Thank you for doing all those things and I look forward to seeing you when I’m over next,
on January 24th.

Best regards, and stay warm

Richard Murphy FCA
Director
Tax Research UK

2

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

From Ted Vibert, J.D.A. , 01 Dec. 2010



The Editor,
Jersey Evening Post,
Five Oaks
Jersey

Dear Sir,

So the cat is finally out of the bag.  What Senator Ozouf was saying a week ago- that the decision by the EU Council on Business Taxation on Jersey’s zero ten- was only a minor matter- is shown to be a complete nonsense.

The Council found that our zero-ten tax regime, which allows UK or foreign owned companies to trade in Jersey without paying tax, whilst Jersey based companies pay 20%, was “harmful” and non compliant with the EU Code of Conduct on Business Tax

Our advisors in Brussels and in the UK informed us that their inside information was that the Code would be found to be non-complaint in that specific area  They were 100% accurate and we issued a press release to that effect last week-.  This produced a typical response from Senator Ozouf who tried to hide behind financial gobbledegook to cover his embarrassment as well as calling me irresponsible – a typical Senator Ozouf tactic of not dealing with the argument  but belittling his opponent.

A minor matter?  Not according to Guernsey.  Their government has accepted that the Council findings that zero-ten represented harmful taxation” was the unanimous view of the Council”.

They added: “It is understood that whilst the formal assessment has not technically been concluded, the expectation is that the Crown dependencies will be required to  introduce revised corporate tax regimes”

Senator Ozouf says that he has a plan to tackle this “minor issue”.  If it has come from the same people who produced the zero- ten disaster I suggest we don’t bother.  It would be far more sensible to let Guernsey go and put  their case and follow them..  


Even better, they could contact Mr. Richard Murphy of the Tax Justice Network to vet anything the Senator comes up with.  Events have shown that they appear to have a much better handle on all of this than the Senator

Senator Ozouf will apparently be presenting his solution to this “minor matter”in his budget speech.  One thing you can count on.  He will not be apologising to the House for misleading Jersey over this zero-ten issue

Yours sincerely,

Ted Vibert

Jersey Democratic Alliance
  

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

BAIL OUT


Anonymous said...
Jersey was bailed out in September 2008 when the British government saved its own banks from collapse with tax payer’s money. Had this not occurred then the dominoes would have been tumbling here as well. This is not recognised locally (at least officially).

Letter to the Editor – Jersey Evening Post

This rally expressed the anger of workers against the governing elite

November 30, 2010 – 3:00 pm
From Nick Le Cornu.

THERE was a time when a critical letter like that from John Boothman (JEP, 27 November) would have sent progressives scattering for cover. The humiliation, the curtailed career prospects, the shame, the ostracism of friends, the averted gaze on King Street, would all have been too much.

Now, such a letter inspires not repentance, but only the sort of sympathy extended to an old war horse pricking up its ears at the sound of the bugle. One last moment of glory before the dream fades.
It is funny how every time trade unionists, progressives and workers stop bickering and get themselves organised as an effective opposition, the aristocrats of wealth start to get worried. Clearly the recent rally at Fort Regent organised by Unite was not such a damp squib as some journalists might have us believe, otherwise the old war horse would not be charging again.
The rally at Fort Regent was no gathering of the poor and oppressed huddling together for warmth and consolation. It was a collective expression of the anger of working people against the governing elite that is pursuing reckless austerity measures that jeopardise living standards and employment.
Shifting the burden of taxation to the poorer half of the population is a measure that will see income and wealth inequality surge. Opposing the cuts in public services and rises in GST is not a craven act of self-interest, but rather an essential defensive strategy for working people and their families against the erosion of living standards.
Jersey is polarising between a comfortable elite and the working population of clerks and workers trying to make ends meet in year three of the crisis. Those trade unionists and members of the public who wish to continue the spirit of the Fort Regent rally should attend the demonstration in the Royal Square, next Saturday, 4 December, at midday and by their presence oppose the government austerity budget.
Yes, John, you are correct. The workers are revolting and they are heading your way.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Is Jersey next after Iceland and Ireland?

from: Jo Angela

We have been reading the articles and comments on the Irish Tiger flop, as before we followed the Greek and Icelandic cases, as usual it is a combination of a 'never had it so good ' feeling so lets all go and buy second homes in Romania, and a bunch of corrupt bankers lying their way all along.

 Now, no one wants to pay the price.
The Jersey case seems a little different, because it doesn't seem to be the banks primarily at fault for placing the Island at risk, but it's own government. Equally frightening, Greece, Iceland and Ireland are all helped out by Europe (only because they have to) , but who will want to help a possibly bankrupt little Island with 90,000 population, it certainly won't pose a risk to either Sterling or Euro!

The Island leaders are particularly negligent towards the local population.

I suppose, if it did come to the worse, these, so called leaders, will have a nice sum stashed away in some other tax resort : I'm alright, me!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010



From : Tax  Research UK


WHAT NOW FOR CROWN DEPENDENCIES?


A follow-up on the ongoing development of the zero/ten discussion,


Please click on the following link:


www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2010/11/16/what-now-for-the-crown-dependencies/




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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Guernsey publishes Tax Consultation feedback

These two links were kindly sent to us by Tony (the prof)

 
GUERNSEY PUBLISHES TAX CONSULTATION FEEDBACK


Corporate Tax Review - preliminary feedback published

The States today publishes preliminary feedback on its technical corporate tax review held during the summer.
As was clearly stated at the time of the consultation the States cannot reasonably or properly make any decisions regarding its corporate tax regime until such time as the Code of Conduct Review process of the zero/10 regimes of Jersey and the Isle of Man are concluded.  This preliminary report therefore provides only a brief overview of the submissions received in response to the consultation and does  not seek to provide any analysis or response to the public submissions.



http://www.tax-news.com/news/Guernsey_Publishes_Tax_Consultation_Feedback____46214.html

Guernsey Publishes Tax Consultation Feedback, by Amanda Banks, Tax-News.com, London
Last updated 10 hours ago | Monday, November 08, 2010

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NOTE BY BLOGMASTER: THESE TWO ARTICLES ARE AN INTERESTING FOLLOW UP TO OUR LAST TWO POSTINGS, "ZERO TEN-THE REAL TRUTH" FROM TED VIBERT, AND "HOW TO RANK JERSEY" FROM TAX RESEARCH UK.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Zero Ten, the real thruth

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from:




Ted Vibert, President of the Jersey Democratic Alliance.  www.jdajersey.co.uk  
 

 

 


The phrase “zero- ten” has been bandied about so often that the history of zero-ten has been over-looked or forgotten. It is important that the people of Jersey fully understand just what damage this tax regime has done to our finances.
All sorts of reasons have been advanced by Ozouf about the cause of the black hole. One day it’s “the global recession”, then it’s the fact that “we’ve been spending too much” and then it’s an” overpaid and overstaffed public service” but not once has he blamed the zero-ten taxation regime that he was partly to blame for introducing.

Jersey introduced it because the Isle of Man did so in 2002. This action by the IOM was seen as a real threat to our finance business, because they dropped tax on banks and finance businesses from 20% to 10% Zero-ten also makes it a tax free environment for businesses owned outside of Jersey and trading here.

When it was debated in the States, we were told that this would be vital for retaining our finance industry, otherwise we would lose the business. We were also told that it would create a “black hole” in our finances of up to £80 million by 2011and this would be covered by the introduction of GST at 3% and “20 means 20”.
At that time, no one informed the States of the content of the EU Code of Conduct for Business Taxation. The Finance Committee( as they were called then) were aware of this Code but never informed the States about it. Why?

The simple answer is that the EU code of conduct specifically outlawed any form of zero-ten tax regimes but Walker, Le Sueur and Ozouf took a gamble and hoped they could get away with it.

When the Scrutiny Panel I sat on in 2006 investigated the zero-ten proposal, I questioned Frank Walker and Terry Le Sueur closely about this and they kept saying that their zero-ten proposal had been approved by the UK government and therefore it would be approved by the EU.

We wanted to know if this approval was in writing After a lot of huffing and puffing, ducking and diving, they said that it was a verbal approval. We were never told who gave that approval despite asking several times who it was –and when?

The wording of the Code is quite simple and unambiguous and is designed to eliminate “harmful tax measures” amongst member States of the EU, These measures are defined as those that “provide for a significantly lower effective level of taxation, including zero taxation, than those which generally apply in the member State in question, are to be regarded as potentially harmful and therefore covered by this code.

“Such a level of taxation may operate by virtue of the nominal tax rate, the tax base or any other relevant factor.
 
“When assessing whether such measures are harmful, account should be taken of, inter alia
1 Whether advantages are accorded only to non-residents or in respect of transactions carried out with non-residents.
2 Whether advantages are ring-fenced from the domestic market so they do not affect the national tax base
3 Whether advantages are granted even without any real economic activity and substantial economic presence within the Member States offering such tax advantages

The Code of Conduct includes a commitment by EU member States not to introduce new tax measures that are “harmful” ( a “standstill” commitment) and to remove harmful tax measure (a “rollback” commitment). Whilst the Code of Conduct is not a EU directive but rather an agreement between Member States, it is expected that member States will seek to work within its terms. The Code of Conduct commits member states to “promoting its principles in other countries outside of the EU and in particular provides that Member States with dependent and associated territories or which have special responsibilities or taxation prerogatives in respect of other countries commit themselves within the framework of their constitutional arrangements to ensuring that these principles are applied to those territories.”

It should have been clear to the Walker-Ozouf-Le Sueur group that proposals to introduce the Zero-Ten tax system that they introduced to help the finance industry, disobeys the Code on all counts.
• Zero- tax and 10% tax are harmful
• The zero corporate tax structure disadvantages Jersey-owned companies and therefore is against the Code.
• All elements of zero-ten disobeys the commitment not to introduce new tax measures that are harmful

And why should it have been clear.?

Because it’s so damn obvious.

Now we are in the position of having introduced zero-ten and the EU are unhappy about it. The UK have told us its our problem to sort and no one knows yet what decision the EU will make. Ozouf has admitted that they have no plan in hand in the event of the EU telling us finally that it is unacceptable. Yet we have based our whole financial future on it

And they call themselves the” safe pair of hands”.

It is hard to believe how anyone in the UK government at the time could have approved a system of taxation so diametrically opposed to the EU Code of Conduct especially since the chair of the Group which developed the Code was chaired by Ms. Dawn Primarolo, a prominent member of the Labour cabinet.

The best thing that can happen is for the Chief Minister to scrap zero-ten and revert back to our 20% tax rate. This will put our finances back in credit and remove the need for these drastic actions which are going to hurt the ordinary people of Jersey so much.
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