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Basic Income—an early Icelandic experiment

Abstract

Old age, illness, and/or physical and/or mental disabilities may limit the ability of an individual to generate enough income to cover basic costs of living. Most developed nations provide financial assistance to persons with limited abilities. In 1974, an Icelandic government passed an act of law providing a tax credit, payable to taxpayers under certain conditions. The tax allowance was applied first to settle the taxes and public levies owed by the taxpayer, with any amount remaining paid out to the individual. This system can be seen as a first, limited attempt at establishing a partial universal basic income of sorts. This social interaction between stakeholders on how to share the tax revenue between the taxpayers led to a government crisis. The shareholders in this partial universal basic income system, the state and municipalities, the old age community, the trade unions, and the employers all have different financial and political interests and were affected by this reform. The lesson is that a basic income would need strong supporters if implemented, where the role of the government and/or the parliament would be mapped. Its supporters must be able to withstand the pressure from the social partners in the labor market because of the interactivity of the social security system and the pension fund system, which is not a part of the fiscal system in Iceland. The conflict of interests becomes apparent.

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The Decisive Moment(s or periods) in the Application of Income Tax Rules and the Importance of Events Thereafter – a Swedish, Norwegian and Finnish Perspective and Comparison

Abstract

For a correct application of tax laws, it is central to know at what time or period the conditions of each case are to be tested against the respective tax rule. For example, in many questions, the conditions at the time of the transaction are decisive, but not seldom the tax rules take aim at the conditions at the end of the year – or some other time or period. It is also important to know what significance should be given to events after this time or period, not least when the income declaration is made and assessed. Here, these partly overlooked questions are presented and analyzed from the Swedish, Norwegian and Finnish income tax-perspectives.

Open access
Acceptable levels of tax risk as a metric of corporate tax responsibility: theory, and a survey of practice

Abstract

Prescribed levels of acceptable tax risk are increasingly used to articulate degrees of corporate tax responsibility, but the theoretical basis for doing so is not well established. This article (i) develops a theory of the relationship between tax risk and tax responsibility and (ii) shows that acceptable levels of tax risk could be used as a meaningful metric for these purposes, provided that the filing positions a n ticipated from proposed planning are reviewed against the prescribed level of acceptable risk without taking into account any mitigation of the risk factors that are introduced by the planning. Further, the article reviews the evolving tax risk policies of 20 large European companies, showing that while some progress is being made towards meaningful discourse, even the companies with the most well-developed policies are still making their claims in such a way as to conflate socially responsible tax behavior with diligence in implementing antisocial tax behavior.

Open access
Permanent Establishment for Investors in Private Equity Funds—A Legal Analysis in Light of the Changes to the OECD Model (2017)

Abstract

The article analyzes whether the investment in a private equity fund may create a permanent establishment (PE) for foreign investors. The analysis is divided into two main parts, as the question of creating a PE for the foreign investors is considered with respect to both the main PE rule and the agency PE rule. The amendments to the PE definition prescribed in the OECD/G20 BEPS report on Action 7, and incorporated into the 2017 version of the OECD Model with Commentary, are taken into consideration. It is concluded that the final outcome depends on the specific setup of the private equity fund at hand and that some degree of uncertainty may often remain. Moreover, the recent amendments to the PE definition do not appear to have reduced this uncertainty—rather the contrary.

Open access
Article 7 TEU: From a Dormant Provision to an Active Enforcement Tool?

Abstract

For a long time considered, improperly, a sort of ‘nuclear’ option, Article 7 TEU is the key EU Treaty provision in the field of values enforcement. In the context of the Union’s current rule of law crisis, such a provision deserves the greatest attention, especially after the European Commission’s proposal in December 2017 to trigger the procedure against Poland, under Article 7(1) TEU. This article contributes to understandings of the provision by reviewing its main features and contextualising its deployment in the general Polish rule of law crisis, with the aim of evaluating whether it can now be considered as an operational instrument for values enforcement. Although the Commission’s (late) decision to activate the Article 7(1) TEU procedure should be welcomed as a major effort in restoring the rule of law within the European Union, the (perceived and real) limits of Article 7 TEU and the inertia of the EU institutions cast a shadow over the procedure’s effective implementation.

Open access
Bi-Ethnic Federalism and the Question of Sovereignty: Understanding the Competitive Security Postures in Cyprus

Abstract

When ethnic groups negotiate self-government arrangements, ‘ethnic sovereignty’ lies boldly at the heart of their security considerations. The constitutional nature of self-determination and the extent of territorial control can determine the degree of ethno-territorial sovereignty attributed to groups. However, in competitive contexts influenced by fear and mistrust, groups interpret these pillar elements in ways that increase their own sense of security. The present study argues that legal and political positions on sovereignty in Cyprus are largely built around the competitive security assumptions held by the Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaderships, and explains how the divergent viewpoints and understandings of sovereignty reflect the underlying security fears and suspicion of parties. The analysis finds that the two ethnic leaderships in Cyprus have sought to accumulate a distinct ‘sovereignty capital’ in an effort to safeguard their own and overpower each other’s perceived security intentions in the event of federal collapse, making thus the attainment of settlement in Cyprus particularly elusive.

Open access
A comparison of existing forums for interparliamentary cooperation in the EU and some lessons for the future

Abstract

Interparliamentary conferences and other permanent forums for interparliamentary cooperation are blossoming in the European Union. Following more or less lengthy negotiations between national and European parliamentarians, two new conferences and a new joint parliamentary scrutiny group for Europol have been created since 2012. Against this background, this article examines to what extent the Joint parliament scrutiny group is comparable to the previously existing interparliamentary conferences. Beyond that, it asks the question as to whether any better-defined guidelines or procedures could be adopted to rationalise the process of creation of new forums for interparliamentary cooperation. It makes some concrete proposals in that direction.

Open access
The Contribution of COSAC to Joint Parliamentary Scrutiny in the EU: A Practitioner’s View

Abstract

COSAC has played an active role in fostering and developing interparliamentary he central question addressed here is to assess whether COSAC is currently structured to allow NPs to obtain more information and access to the policy and decision-making circuits at EU level and, therefore, if NPs are benefiting from COSAC or are they, on the contrary, lagging behind and lost amidst so many interparliamentary meetings?

It is argued that COSAC occupies a key role in the multipolarised system of with the “global picture” and therefore in a unique position to bring coherence to the overall system. This paper therefore aims at putting forward some ideas and approaches regarding the role of COSAC in the effectiveness of interparliamentary cooperation, covering not only its present proceedings and output, but also some thoughts for further reflection on the future strengthening of COSAC.

Open access
Environmental subsidiarity in the EU: or halfway to green federalism?

Abstract

Environmental protection and sustainable development are competences that the EU is entitled to integrate into the definition and implementation of its policies. However, shared competences in these areas are still a reality, as a margin of discretion persists for Member States, aimed at maintaining a high level of decentralisation, particularly where issues related to national policies and more (nation) specific sectoral legislation are concerned. This paper intends to analyse the application of the principle of subsidiarity to environmental issues within the EU, to examine the characteristics of a possible path to the future of green federalism in Europe.

Open access
Federalism and constitution: States’ participation in constitutional reform as a guarantee of the federalisation process. (A study of Spain’s unique model)

Abstract

The aim of involving state members in reforming federal constitutions is to guarantee them the autonomy that they have been constitutionally granted. It also prevents reform from being carried out unilaterally by the central government and means the structure of competences can be modified as necessary. In this study, we will consider how federations manage, to a greater or lesser extent, regional intervention in constitutional reform. However, we will see how recently, in Spain, the anticipated routes for territorial participation in the constitutional text have proved to be clearly insufficient, and have developed into the recent crisis in this ‘State of Autonomies’, which is now facing the breakdown of national unity.

Open access