23rd March 2023
We’re particularly excited about our latest international tax update as we feature a rarely mentioned British Overseas Territory. From crypto and blockchain in the EU to big tech in the US, we cover a lot of ground, as we round up all the latest tax developments from across the globe. Uncovering the latest global tax news we find that countries and local tax authorities continue in their quest to combat tax evasion and fraud as they endeavour to boost their rightful tax revenues. Recruitment agencies placing contractors abroad must of course remain vigilant and tax compliant.
In an interview with Coindesk, the bitcoin and digital currencies news site, Mathieu Michel, Belgium’s Secretary of State for Digitalization has argued that a new ‘Europeum’ blockchain could be the way forward to record digital asset ownership while adhering to the EU’s regulatory framework. The taxation of virtual earnings and crypto gains in Belgium is an area of concern for tech entrepreneurs with more clarity needed around trading. The EU’s Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) regulation will go to the vote in April, the first jurisdiction to have a defined crypto framework.
Blockchain4Belgium, which was launched in February 2023, seeks to address the potential of Web3, Blockchain and digital assets, enlisting all key players to make recommendations to the Government to help create a roadmap moving forward. Michel added, “Today, Belgium must take an important decision for its future, by affirming its digital sovereignty, by displaying its support for innovation which will make it possible to attract new capital, create jobs, promote growth, and increase the retention and attraction of human talent who are experts in these technologies.”
Meanwhile, the Government of the Turks and Caicos Islands, which is located southeast of the Bahamas, has committed to invest $2m in a new IT platform, that will allow for better exchange of tax information with EU member states (the country was added to the EU’s blacklist of tax havens). Minister of Finance Investment and Trade, the Hon. Erwin Saunders, said, “While we disagree with the findings, we do recognise that we are deficient in some areas, particularly around the IT platform that facilitates the collection of the required information and the exchange of that information”.
Saunders went on to stress his country’s commitment to improve transparency, accountability and compliance by registered entities. He also cited the economic, investment, infrastructure and job creation benefits while also recognising that the country’s global reputation would be bolstered. “A growing financial industry will also help to improve overall infrastructure, including technology, and telecommunications, which will have positive spillover effects on other industries,” he said. The Islands were added to the EU’s blacklist for the first time in October 2022.
Tax compliance critical for global recruitment agencies
Another small country, this time in west Africa, is also ramping up its efforts to tackle tax fraud and evasion. A memorandum of understanding (MOU) was recently signed by the Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA) and Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) to facilitate the sharing of information in a bid to clamp down on perpetrators of financial crime. While the FIU is a statutory body whose remit is to counter money laundering, financing of terrorism and proliferation financing, the GRA is occupied with the assessment and collection of taxes, duties and other revenues.
Meanwhile, at the recent Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, disgruntled telco operators fired a salvo at the Big Tech companies like Amazon, Google, Meta and Microsoft who they feel ought to contribute to internet network installation, infrastructure and upgrade costs. The latter argue that this would amount to an ‘internet tax’ and would undermine the principles of neutrality (a free and open internet). “A financing model for the huge investments needed” would need to be ironed out, according to Thierry Breton, the European Commissioner for Internal Market.
As our latest news stories reveal, there are lots of international tax developments happening around the world on many different fronts. One thing is clear – tax authorities are increasing resources and regulations to fight against tax evasion and fraud. For recruitment agencies placing global contractors, the need to remain compliant and adhere to all local rules has never been greater given the penalties at stake. With experience and knowledge of tax and compliance in over 80 countries, our team is perfectly placed to advise and guide you.
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