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Tax Arbitrage - Trawling the International Tax System

  • Book
  • 208 Pages
  • March 2011
  • Region: Global
  • Spiramus Press
  • ID: 1572666
International tax arbitrage has come under intense scrutiny since the global financial crisis, and is usually portrayed as a form of aggressive tax avoidance. Press coverage has often shown little understanding of the distinction between tax avoidance and tax evasion, describing the legitimate behaviour of taxpayer banks, financial institutions and multinational businesses in emotive terms and often inaccurately.

This book aims to look at tax arbitrage, and demystify its practice. In a world where tax competition rather than tax harmonisation is the predominant norm, international tax arbitrage is a form of legitimate tax planning.

The book starts with a review of some of the press coverage (including of recent court cases) and also examines campaigns by the Uncut pressure group. It considers the confusion over the boundary between ‘legality' and ‘morality'.

It covers the responses of tax authorities in major western economies to calls for tax reform.

This includes the choices to favour:

- substance or form
- worldwide or source taxation
- targeted legislation or general anti-avoidance rules.

It considers the role of jurisdictional competition in tax avoidance arbitrage and the approach taken by a number of countries (including the UK, Ireland and Netherlands) to fiscal policy.

A review of recent law reports in the UK, Italy, France, New Zealand, Australia, United States and South Africa involving tax arbitrage, helps to explain how it works, with detailed descriptions from court cases and flow charts of the structured finance arrangements.

The appendices include an extract from the OECD Report “Building Transparent Tax Compliance by Banks” on international arbitrage financing transactions, and the UK “Code of Practice on Taxation for Banks” with guidance notes.

Table of Contents


Summary of the book

CHAPTER 1: The bail out – from hero to villain

The media feeding frenzy

Other side of the Atlantic

US Senate “Tax Dodge” Report

CHAPTER 2: Tax authorities intervention

USA borrower

Substance v Form

Worldwide taxation and tax credits

Securities Lending and Repo

Taxpayers file lawsuits in the US claiming tax refunds

US docketed cases

Who owns the public transport system?

CHAPTER 3: Structured finance

The ‘art' of tax avoidance

Blowing the whistle

Regulators and tax arbitrage

When the herd moves in

The spirit of the law


Differing approaches

Impact of European jurisprudence

Are tax havens to blame?

CHAPTER 4: The role of jurisdictional competition in tax avoidance arbitrage


Going Dutch

Consumer choice

Entity classification for tax purposes

Every taxpayer's dream (or not)

When the taxman calleth

CHAPTER 5: Jurisdictional case review








Concluding remarks


Appendix 1: Jurisdictional Arbitrage Financing Transaction

Appendix 2: A Code of Practice on Taxation for Banks

Appendix 3: Supplementary Guidance Note



Countries Covered

- The UK
- Italy
- France
- New Zealand
- Australia
- United States
- South Africa