The Malta Independent 12 May 2021, Wednesday

Biden and taxes

Alfred Sant MEP Thursday, 15 April 2021, 08:00 Last update: about 27 days ago

It seems like the Biden administration has radically altered “its” policies regarding tax on company profits. It has aligned itself almost completely with the proposals of the larger European states, France at the forefront, regarding taxation on digital services and a minimum rate of tax on corporation profits across all countries.

No doubt, the gigantic expenditures which the American administration (like all other governments) has gone in for to counter the adverse effects of the pandemic have sharpened the need to harvest greater financial revenues. They have to somehow finance the trillions of dollars being spent on projects and social subsidies. The US government can hardly tolerate that... as is so often claimed... companies big and small find the present tax systems as ideal instruments to help them evade taxes due.

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It is likely that in the club of “rich” countries, the OECD, an agreement on tax issues will soon be agreed.

That is not so good news for small countries like Malta. They need space within which to compete with the “big” ones at least on tax, if they are to attract certain kinds of investment.

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EVERYTHING GOES, WE’LL JUST ARRANGE THINGS...

It’s the kind of advice that’s quite prevalent here, if not in those words, in others that are similar. Once you get down to analysing it closely, you understand that the advice reflects the conditions that define a small society where everybody knows everybody else, or is related to everybody else, and where standards of correct behaviour are hemmed in by the tugs of family relationships.

When education was still the privileged enclave of an elite stratum of the country, the same call was also being issued, but it could be largely downplayed because the links of family and friends spread over lesser numbers.

But if the call is to be considered as the sign of a primitive, vulgar way of life (tal-ħamalli), then it was like so when it was issued in Italian as much as when it got to be communicated in English... and later, in Maltese.

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FROM NATIONALIST ASHES...

I find less than inspiring the Greek fable of the phoenix, the bird that issues renewed and empowered from its  own ashes... especially since when I lived in Greece where it was the motif behind the logo adopted there by the dictatorship of the “colonels”.

From the PN, they are presently trying to colour their current political stance with the same myth. To be sure, no precedents exist for current circumstances. On one fromt, the PN have experienced cataclysmic defeats in the country’s political history. On another front, the Labour government achieved enormous economic and social gains, then drifted into a scandalous and huge crisis. And on a third front, a new Labour administration was faced before it had settled in, with a global pandemic that was itself unprecedented.

To arise from its ashes of past years, the PN needs to invent itself anew. The extraordinary developments on the three fronts could have been of great assistance to its efforts, or they could have further destabilised it. The Labour Party, though in government, has had to come to terms with equivalent dilemmas.

All things considered, it seems to me that despite the ongoing bluff projected by the pro-PN media, the Labour side is rising more convincingly to the challenge.   

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