Personal Finance

Relieving Financial Stress with Better Behavior

The first few months of a new year can be a stressful time financially. The Christmas holidays typically lead to depleted savings and higher credit card balances, while tax season is right around the corner.

Unfortunately, for most us, this is not a seasonal dilemma but a chronic problem that brings anxiety throughout the year.

Economic Modelling Your Tax Burden

The current debate on tax reform in Australia is strong on rhetoric but largely devoid of hard evidence. Also missing are clear proposals from the government that can be assessed on their respective merits.

The purported benefits of reform centre on worthy outcomes such as a larger economy, reduced government deficits, more stable revenue sources, less complexity and a fairer system.

Apparently, Taxing a Company's Sales is a Bad Idea

In the midst of the row about Google’s low tax settlement, former chancellor Lord Lawson came up with a radical proposal. In an era where multinationals can artificially shift profits around the world, he said that taxing those profits has “had its day”, and corporation tax should instead be greatly reduced and “bolstered” by a tax on companies' sales – the total amount of money that a business receives from selling goods or services to its customers.

The U.K. is Looking for a Taxpayer's Champion

January is a busy month for tax in the UK as millions of people struggle to complete their tax returns before the January 31 deadline.

Meanwhile, HMRC, the tax agency, is dealing with public ire over its acceptance of Google’s complex – but perfectly legal – tax arrangements and it is trying to find a new chief executive to replace the incumbent, Lin Homer, who recently resigned and will step down in April. It is a tough time for the UK’s tax authority.

The (Tax Inversion) Law of the Land

Globalisation – and the global economic crisis – have contributed to the erosion of national tax bases and in recent years some of the biggest multinationals, among them Apple, Vodafone, Amazon, Google, Starbucks and Microsoft, have been scrutinised for their aggressive tax planning practices. Using (among other techniques) transfer pricing, inter-company lending, royalty payments for licensing agreements, cost-sharing agreements and offsetting group losses, multinational groups can achieve very low effective tax rates.

Another 'Bad Bank', this Time in Italy

Reports indicating that Italy is close to establishing a bad bank prompted one wag to ask if Italy does not already have enough.  The country may be better served by setting up a good bank.

The sharp sell-off in shares of Italian banks this year is an important driver of G7-leading 12.4% slide in the local bourse this year. 

The Ted Cruz Tax Plan: Realistic Feat or Campaign Hot Air?

Presidential primary season is ebb and flow, and no one knows for sure who the Republican nominee will be, but it is becoming all too apparent of who stands the best chance: Ted Cruz, Donald Trump or Marco Rubio. Rubio represents the establishment wing of the Republican Party, while Cruz and Trump compete for the grassroots conservative crowd that is tired of politics as usual.

Here, Let Me Help You Lose that Money

In a world where financial experts are frequently proven badly wrong, it is hardly surprising that many people take charge of saving for their retirements themselves. The realities of the financial world do not make this easy, though. In addition, neither does the peculiar psychology of investing – as research in which I have been involved helps to show.