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Abstract

Legal certainty is central to taxation decisions. This article describes the current legal situation and discussions in four Nordic countries. Sweden and Finland are specialized in dealing with taxation cases in administrative courts. In Denmark and Norway, no specialization exists in taxation cases. I maintain in this article that legal certainty would benefit from explicit signals from the state about the requirement of special knowledge and unbiasedness in authority and court decisions. These signals could well take the form of specialization in the courts. The need for specialized expertise is particularly extensive in tax law. It is also crucial for the agencies’ officials and judges to be aware that a subjective sense of unbiasedness in decision making does not necessarily mean that the unbiasedness aimed for has been attained. Self-awareness of this kind would ensure that argumentation and grounds for decisions would be made credible and transparent, to the benefit of legal certainty.

Abstract

According to the Eurostat the old-age dependency (people aged 65 or above relative to those aged 15- 64) in the EU will rise from 28% in 2010 to 58% in 2060. During the same period total hours works are projected to fall contributing to a low projected economic growth over the next half-century. In this paper we argue that this gloomy picture might be challenged by an increase in the employment rates of older workers. Using Sweden as an illustration we show that the ratio of individuals with income from both pension and market work has increased strongly during the last decade. During the same period economic reforms have been introduced creating economic incentives in order to delay the exit from the labor market. In this paper we demonstrate the importance of these economic reforms in explaining increased working hours. The paper also evaluates the fiscal impact of the increase in the employment rates.

Abstract

This section contains three book reviews. First the book Swedish Taxation, Development since 1862 is reviewed. This volume comprises six studies that examine the development of Swedish taxation from 1862 to 2013, and will likely be of great value in future Nordic tax research because of its comprehensiveness. The second review is about a book written in Swedish:Momsfri sjukvård (The VAT exemption for health care). This volume discusses a topical issue and presents convincing recommendations for changes in the Swedish VAT legislation. Finally, the Danish book International Skatteret, i et dansk perspektiv (International Tax Law, in a Danish perspective) is presented as highly recommended literature for students and practitioners in the field of international tax law. This volume discusses and illustrates general matters in international tax law, as well as specific matters relevant for Danish international tax law.

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Abstract

This article discusses proactive public disclosure of taxpayer information and how this may form a new strategy for securing tax compliance by tax administrators. It reports a case study from the Danish Customs and Tax Administration in which consumers of services-over a short period of time-were informed about businesses’ lack of value-added tax (VAT) registration. Our approach to the case is twofold: First, the article lays out a legal analysis of the disclosure practice, and second, the article presents an organizational analysis of why the practice was initiated. The analyses show that using proactive public disclosure is compatible with the Duty of Confidentiality, but incompatible with Good Public Governance. Furthermore, the analyses show that there are a number of strong organizational rationales for using proactive public disclosure, despite its apparent incompatibility with Good Public Governance. The article is innovative in that it combines a legal and organizational approach to analyse a new regulatory strategy within tax administration.

Abstract

This paper focuses on tax evasion and tax avoidance in Iceland, and on how special interest groups have shaped the taxation system to serve their own ends. The period covered is from 1930, when the present Icelandic system of power was established, to the present.

Tax evasion is sometimes an intended, and other times an unintended response to taxation.Willful tax evasion is more likely to occur if consensus regarding fairness and equality of the tax-code is lacking. Tax evasion is an integral part of the “underground economy”, or more formally, the Non-Observed Economy (NOE).Measuring the size and scope of the NOE in general, and tax evasion in particular, is a difficult task.We compare results from three methods for estimating the size of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP): the production approach, the expenditure approach, and the income approach. The results of applying these three methods should, in principle, be identical, but they are not. We use the difference, guided by historical facts and anecdotes, to give an idea of the magnitude of tax evasion during the 20th century.

We suggest that the construction of the tax system to serve special interest groups may have disrupted the social, judicial, political and economic balance of the Icelandic “project”.

Abstract

This joint report includes economic national reports on the taxation of partnership in the Nordic countries, except Denmark. The general contents of these reports are summarized and thoroughly analyzed in Anna Holst Birket-Smith’s General report, published in this issue of the NTaxJ. For additional information, details on legislative measures etc. we find it important, however, to also publish the national reports in full length. We hope you will find it valuable as well. The respective national reports appear in alphabetic order, in regard to the country which regulation is presented. Name of the country reporter and contact information are presented in the beginning of each report.

Abstract

This joint report includes the five legal national reports on the taxation of partnership in the Nordic countries. The general contents of these reports are summarized and thoroughly analyzed in Liselotte Madsen’s General report, published in this issue of the NTaxJ. For additional information, details on legislative measures etc. we find it important, however, to also publish the national reports in full length. We hope you will find it valuable as well.

The respective national reports appear in alphabetic order, in regard to the country which regulation is presented. Name of the country reporter and contact information are presented in the beginning of each report.