The Malta Independent 24 September 2020, Thursday

Tax structures

Alfred Sant MEP Thursday, 10 September 2020, 08:00 Last update: about 15 days ago

At the OECD which groups the more developed capitalist economies, they seem to be coming close to a new agreement regarding how tax structures can be harmonised in the different countries. This would ensure, so it is said, that no company, large or small, will continue to successfully manipulate its accounts in order to minimise due payment of taxes on its profits. At present, companies can do so by maneouvering around how different countries set their taxation systems.

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Such an agreement would impact significantly Malta’s economic position. However, we are not consistently clear, even in internal discussions, as to why this would happen.

Will it be because such an OECD agreement would oblige all countries to adopt the same tax system, even if what applies well to huge economies can only be of disservice to very small ones, like ours?

Is it because in the present situation, financial services operating out of Malta are doing well by providing a platform for companies seeking to evade the taxes they should be paying?... and now this possibility for them risks being flushed out?

Or is it because in a uniform structure of taxation internationally, even those who are not intending at all to evade their due taxes, will see no reason why they should continue to carry out their tax planning arrangements from a small jurisdiction like the Maltese one?

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VICTORY

It might be a mistaken impression of mine, but over the years it seems as if the meaning of the Victory Day we “celebrated” this week has lost much of its relevance. We are all for it of course, if only because it means another holiday.

However, as a remembrance of the Great Siege, or even too as some claim, the end of the siege of French forces enclosed in Valletta, it seems to give rise to few profoundly felt sentiments. True, memories are still alive regarding what happened in the Second World War, but here too, the number of people who were alive then or who knew people with experience of those events, is continually declining. 

The commemoration of Victory Day is carried out because of the obligation to do so – that’s how it seems. In recent years, other “new” commemorations have been inserted in the national calendar which overshadowed Victory Day: like, independence ... freedom from economic reliance on foreign military installations ...and for those who approved that option, the entry of Malta in the EU.  

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HOGAN’S STORY

The resignation of Phil Hogan as EU Trade Commissioner from Ireland was hardly noticed in Malta. One wonders why...

Hogan was one of the Commissioners most in view and was considered as an up and coming candidate for the top leadership post at the World Trade Organization. Then, overnight he had to resign from the Commission.

It happened because when he returned home for his summer holdiays, instead of remaining in self isolation as the Irish sanitary regulations to contain Covid 19 stipulated at that time, he attended a formal dinner held in central Dublin. There was an outcry and he was harshly criticised. Both his political party and the European Commission failed to come out in his defence.

Soon he had to resign, even though there was general agreement that he had been doing some very good work.

Which sets one thinking: Hogan’s story gives us Maltese much to chew on...

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