Yet again, the Greeks are coming down hard in a very un-American manner, on the body politik’s misbehavior. Following our comments last week on the life sentence for the Greek Mayor who embezzled EUR 17mm, eKatherimini reports, former Greek Defense Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos has been sentenced to eight years in jail for failing to declare his assets properly over the last few years. While not on the same scale as the mayor’s fraud, The ex-minister failed to declare 47,000 euros of assets in 2006, 33,000 in 2007 and 20,000 in 2008. The property has been seized and Akis is not allowed an appeal but the story doesn’t end there for he also faces a separate trial for embezzlement of taxpayers’ money.
Finance Minister P Chidambaram today said there is need to move towards a technology driven tax administration and called on all assesses to file tax returns.
“We will have to get each one of the 28 lakh tax deductees (under TDS). The tax amount would be credited to the government and refund would be credited to the deductee. And this can be done only if we move to technology,” Chidambaram said.
“Income tax department is moving towards information technology. This will process TDS returns, capture massive data so that government gets revenue and taxpayer gets
refund,” he said.
The Finance Minister was speaking to reporters after inaugurating the Centralised Processing Cell (CPC) of the Income Tax department here. The CPC would process all Tax Deducted at Source (TDS) applications and would help ease the
Whether it is Euro-Skeptic MEPs, tin-foil-hat-wearing bloggers, anarchic facebook-friends, or ‘V-for-Vendetta’-atavar’d twitterati, the European Union is now engaging in a social media blast to”correct their misconceptions”. In what appears to be a coordinated troll-patrol, Nigel Farage notes the “very very scared” leaders of the European Union are spending taxpayers money to counter growing skepticism at the unelected leaders dragging citizens into a United States of Europe. The outspoken British MEP makes it very clear he thinks this social media smear campaign is leading towards a ‘mugabe-like’ banana republic, as Europe’s leaders, who he believes are the “most dangerous people in Europe in 70 years,” are terrified at the citizenry’s realization that none of this removal of sovereignty was ever voted for. Banana Republic indeed…
Europe has now officially become the Schrodinger continent, demanding both sides of the economic coin so to speak, and is stuck between the proverbial rock and hard place (or “a cake and eating it”). On one hand it wants to telegraph its financial system is getting stronger, and doesn’t need trillions in implicit and explicit ECB backstops, on the other it needs a liquidity buffer against an economy that, especially in the periphary, is rapidly deteriorating (Spanish bad debt just hit a new all time high while Italian bad loans rose by 16.7% in one year as more and more assets become impaired). On one hand it wants a strong currency to avoid any doubt that there is redenomination risk, on the other it desperately needs a weak currency to spur exports out of the Eurozone (as Spain showed when the EUR plunged in 2012, however that weak currency is now a distant memory and it is now seriously weighing on exports). On the one hand Europe wants to show its banks have solidarity with one another and will support each other, on the other those banks that are in a stronger position can’t wait to shed the stigma of being associated with the weak banks (in this case by accepting LTRO bailouts).
It is the latest that is the most glaring dichotomy because as reported earlier, while some 278 banks, or about half of the original LTRO participants, voluntarily paid back some €137 billion to the ECB, it is none other than Moody’s warning that European banks, especially those in the periphery, will need much more cash.
Banks in Spain, Italy, Ireland and Britain need to set aside much more money to cover potentially bad loans, credit ratings agency Moody’s said on Thursday, meaning European taxpayers may again be tapped for cash.>> Read More
As the argument in favour of a tax on the rich gains currency, the finance ministry is reportedly looking at the possibility of a higher tax on the ‘super rich’, with the possibility of a surcharge on those with an annual income of over Rs 1 crore among the options on the table.
An official source said that the proposal is likely to form a part of the Budget 2013-14 and the ministry is analysing the feasibility of the option. Currently, the taxpayers earning above Rs 10 lakh per annum have to pay tax at the rate of 30 per cent, the highest rate in the three-tier tax slab. The taxpayers have to pay an education cess of 3 per cent on the tax paid. Currently, income is taxed at three rates � 10 per cent, 20 per cent and 30 per cent � fixed in 1997. If the proposal is introduced, those earning above Rs 1 crore will have to pay tax along with education cess and the surcharge levied. A surcharge is essentially a tax on a tax.
On Thursday, in an interview to a TV channel, finance minister P Chidambaram, who spoke about a stable tax regime during his meetings with foreign investors, maintained that the argument for taxing the “very rich” “a little more” should be considered. “I believe in stable tax rates.”>> Read More
The inefficiency of Greece’s tax collection mechanism combined with many people’s inability to pay their taxes for 2012 has resulted in expired debts for the January-November period last year to soar to 12 billion euros from 11 billion in the first 10 months, Finance Ministry data show.
As a result, as far as taxpayers are concerned, the combined total of both old and new debts to the state now stands at 55.5 billion euros.
The ministry has found that 1.13 million periodic statements for value-added tax for the same period have not been submitted by enterprises and the self-employed, which means that they have withheld the VAT received from customers for sales made or services provided.
Old debts amounted to 43.49 billion euros, 2.99 billion of which concerns state companies and corporations. Another 8.5 billion euros concerns firms that have already gone bankrupt while the remaining 31.8 billion relates to various taxpayers and enterprises. The state has only managed to collect about 1 billion euros of this old debt, while writing off some 359 million euros.
The new debts, recorded in 2012, amount to 12.07 billion euros and are expected to steadily increase. The state has only managed to collect 1.1 billion euros of this new debt and has written off another 179 million.
The total of 2.19 billion euros cashed in satisfies the requirement set out in the government’s bailout agreement with its creditors. However, the troika – as the representatives of the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Bank are known collectively – says in its report that some 80 percent of outstanding debts cannot be collected.>> Read More
After a LONG day, the Senate has overwhelmingly voted to approve a Fiscal Cliff deal, sending legislation for final approval in the House.
There was a little nervousness this evening that liberals might not be on board the deal, but the bill passed easily 89-8.
The basic gist is: taxes will rise for individuals making $400K or more and families making $450K or more.
These thresholds are higher than Democrats would like, but Democrats are getting an Unemployment Insurance extension, as well as an extension of other credits.
There is also a permanent fix to the Alternative Minimum Tax indexing.
As for the “sequester” that will be delayed for two months.
This part is infuriating conservatives, who see the spending cuts delayed once again, while taxes rise on many Americans (even though the income taxes will stay low for most taxpayers, payroll taxes will rise).
The New Economic Collapse Video: It makes uncomfortable but urgent viewing.
When Casey Research Chief Technology Investment Analyst Alex Daley met former Reagan Budget Director David Stockman to talk about the economy and where he sees it leading taxpayers investors and savers in the near future, he got some very intriguing insights from a man who served right at the heart of the US federal government.
True, some if it makes for uncomfortable watching, but the message is critical if you want to keep your assets safe in what David calls calls “the great unwind.”
The leader of the main opposition Radical Left Coalition (Syriza) party, Alexis Tsipras, was quoted as predicting the country’s default, while also forecasting that the government will “soon present” a return to a national currency (drachma) as a national success.
In an interview published with Real News newspaper on Saturday, Tsipras said any re-negotiation of a memorandum signed by Greece with its EC-ECB-IMF creditors ended on the night of the June 17 election, while charging that any payment extension is “essentially a longer rope with which to hang ourselves.”
He also criticised the government for abandoning, as he said, any discussion over restoring cuts made to pensioners receiving low pensions, re-instituting collective bargaining talks and increasing the tax-free ceiling for individual taxpayers.
He even attacked Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras, for whom he had spoken positively of during the vote of confidence discussion in parliament, saying he is the definition of a finance minister that the EC-ECB-IMF ‘troika’ would have chosen. (AMNA)
Think the ECB announcement to do undergo a pseudo OSI impairment is a done deal? Not so fast – Germany may yet throw a wrench in there. According to Bloomberg, next week German lawmakers will conduct three votes on Greece among which:
the €130 billion Greek bailout package… Wasn’t it €145 billion by now?
the empowerment of the EFSF to guarantee Greek government bonds held by the ECB
the guarantee of Greek government bonds held by private sector after the debt swap
So while according to “sources” the ECB has already reached an “agreement in principle” to provide Official Sector debt relief, Germany may once again come out of left field with a blocking veto after German taxpayers realize that once again the ECB is throwing money down the drain on its Greek bond holdings, because as pointed out earlier, someone sure is taking a loss on those very same Greek bonds, no matter how convoluted the ECB-EFSF non-arms length and incestuous relationship.