International Business Week Conference 2017 – Early Bird Registration Now Open!
Prospering in the Technological Era: Innovate, Integrate, Motivate Schedule Speakers Exhibitors Join the Barbados International Business Association (BIBA), Invest Barbados and other strategic partners for the ninth International Business Week Conference. This two-day conference is the flagship event of the International Business Week of activities and features both local and international experts who will give insight into some of the trends, developments, and issues impacting the international business and financial services sector. Topics for this year’s conference include: Artificial Intelligence: Is it Bad for Business? The Future of Work: Technology and Humanity Developed Market Debt is Rising — What are the Global Implications? Successful Economic Adjustment in Small Economies: Four Recent Examples Presenters include: Mr. Sanjay Joshi | Head of Fixed Income, London & Capital, U.K. Mr. Carlton Cummins | Co-Founder, Aceleron Ltd, U.K. Mr. Niel Harper | Senior Manager, Next Generation Leaders Programmes, Internet Society, USA Dr. DeLisle Worrell │Economic and Financial Consultant, Barbados Early Bird Tickets: $375.00 US | $750.00 BDS Early Bird Registration and Payment deadline: 29 September 2017 Regular Tickets: $450.00 US | $900.00 BDS Don’t forget: To take advantage of the Early Bird Registration rates, payment must be received on or before 29 September 2017. All payments are required in advance of the conference. Register now!! Please make cheques or drafts payable to: Barbados International Business Association. Registration closes 13 October 2017
Antigua: Opposition party responds to reduction in Citizenship by Investment Programme fees
Following the 50 per cent reduction in processing fees for investment options in the Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP), the leader of the Democratic National Alliance (DNA) is calling for an explanation. “It heightens suspicion as to why the government operates the CIP programme with so much secrecy…that is eventually exposed,” said leader of the DNA, Joanne Massiah. As a result of the reduction, which came into effect on August 1, a family of four will now pay a processing fee US $25, 000 instead of the previous processing fee of US $50, 000 if they choose the National Development Fund (NDF) US $200,000 investment option. Although the processing fees for the NDF and other CIP options have been reduced, the investment amount still remains the same. “The CIU is saying that it consulted with Cabinet in July and approval was granted to reduce the fees in August,” said Massiah. “Why is it that the government didn’t deem it necessary to alert the public to the fact that this decision had been made and give the reasons for that decision?” According to the CIU, the reason for the reduction in the processing fees was to increase Antigua & Barbuda’s competitiveness in the Caribbean region now that the country no longer has visa-free access to Canada. Massiah attempted to dispel this notion and questioned the possibility of a loss of visa-free access to other countries. “Given their argument that the fees have always not been competitive and unless the persons are exclusively interested in going to Canada why is it that we’ve had to reduce the fees? We have visa free access to Europe, England and other places that are being used to market the programme,” Massiah said. The DNA leader also called for more transparency around the fee reduction. “I believe that the CIU needs to come clean with the public. We need to understand the impact that the dropping of fees will have on the operation of the programme,” she said. Massiah said that the DNA was assured that due diligence would not be affected by the fee reduction, as they are to cover operational costs. However, she said that the programme will still be affected. “If the fees are used to pay salaries or as a part of marketing, then clearly the programme is going to be impacted in a significant way,” said Massiah. “Who then are we targeting to sell our passports to?” Massiah also told OBSERVER media that the DNA has penned a letter to the government questioning the CIP since July 13 and was given an unfavourable response. She said she will be making the letter public shortly. Article compliments IFC Review.
OECD Considering How to Tax Online Sales: Tax Chief
The OECD may look to revise controversial rules on how to define a taxable branch, with an eye toward online transactions, the organization’s tax chief said. Pascal Saint-Amans, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s director for tax policy and administration, said the OECD would consider expanding the definition of permanent establishments—recently tweaked in the organization’s base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) project—as it develops a 2018 report to the Group of 20 on tax issues in the digital economy. “That’s what we’re working on, with the idea of further expanding the PE definition that includes something that would track the digital presence of a company,” Saint-Amans said during an Aug. 28 panel discussion at the International Fiscal Association Congress in Rio de Janeiro. He added that the OECD would also look at profit attribution rules and possible interim measures such as an alternative tax on e-sales. He suggested “ALES” as a potential acronym for the alternative tax. How to source taxation in the online world has become an increasingly difficult and controversial topic among tax administrations. While the BEPS project aimed to address many of those concerns, Saint-Amans conceded the project had not produced a complete agreement. After the panel, Saint-Amans told Bloomberg BNA that he hopes the OECD can help provide some measure of agreement as countries consider unilateral actions to tax online sales—but he wasn’t optimistic. “Will there be any sort of agreement on an interim solution? I don’t think so, because there’s a big divide between the U.S., the Europeans, and Japan,” he said. The 2018 report is being developed by the OECD Task Force on the Digital Economy, and follows a G-20 communique, issued July 8, which emphasized the “tax challenges raised by digitalisation of the economy.” Inconclusive During the panel, Saint-Amans admitted that the work of the BEPS on Action Item 1, which dealt with the digital economy, hadn’t produced a strong consensus. “Action 1 was conclusive, but not that well conclusive as regards the corporate income tax,” he said. “And we can see there is no stability here.” The Action 1 BEPS report laid out new principles for collecting general service and value-added taxes, including a rule stating that difficult-to-pinpoint transactions should be taxed at the normal location of the consumer. But on stickier corporate income tax issues related to online transactions, the OECD neglected to write specific rules, claiming that it was impossible to separate the digital economy from commerce in general. A separate BEPS report on Action 7 rewrote the rules for defining a permanent establishment. The report targets structures that allow companies to do business in a country without triggering taxation. But the report stopped short of declaring that digital activity alone could create a taxable presence for income. India’s Perspective Akhilesh Ranjan, principle chief commissioner of income tax at India’s Ministry of Finance who spoke on the IFA panel, said he supports revising the permanent establishment and digital economy rules, blasting the current regime as failing to recognize reality in today’s business environment. “The current tax rules, we believe, are not prepared to take into account the role the market plays in this,” Ranjan said. “Market conditions do create value, and this value is not captured by standard methods of transfer pricing.” Ranjan said in the context of digital services, “there is a distinct element of value creation or addition which is created by the market itself, and that is something which must be compensated and remunerated.” Attributing Profits Ranjan also criticized the OECD’s rules on attributing profit to a permanent establishment, which rely on using transfer pricing principles to tax the branch as if it was a distinct subsidiary. “An attribution scheme which is only based on a functions, assets and risks analysis is heavily lopsided for the supply side, and not considering demand-side factors, which also create value,” he said. Ranjan said India’s recently enacted equalization levy, which imposes a withholding tax on outbound payments for advertising when there isn’t a permanent establishment, was “sort of an interim” measure until the OECD develops stronger rules on these issues. “We really strongly believe that the world must realize that we have to consider the challenges posed by the digital economy, whether or not it’s a BEPS risk in the technical sense of the term,” he said. Article compliments IFC Review.