The Singapore Convention on Mediation: signed by 46 countries in Singapore
On Wednesday, 46 countries signed the Singapore Convention on Mediation at a ceremony attended by over 1,500 delegates at the Shangri-La Hotel in Singapore. As reported earlier this month, the Convention, which is officially titled The United Nations Convention on International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation, aims to address the lack of harmonised framework for cross-border enforcement of settlements procured by mediation.
The full text of the Convention, which can be found here, was approved by the UN Commission on International Trade Law in June last year and was adopted by the UN General Assembly in December.
Among the Convention’s signatories are the USA, China, and Singapore, and the complete list of signatories can be found here. Notably, neither the UK nor any members of the European Union are among them. Despite this, there is something to be said for the enthusiasm of countries in Asia-Pacific (being the majority of the signatories) and their engagement with the project. This, along with various other initiatives being taken by such countries, in particular, Singapore’s commitment to investing in its dispute resolution infrastructure, could pose a serious threat to London’s dominant position in the world of international commercial dispute resolution.
Despite this, it is hoped by many across the globe that the Convention will be as much as a success for cross-border mediation as the New York Convention was for arbitration. Given that (a) the Convention will only come into force six months after it has been ratified by three signatories, and (b) each state must then adopt it into their domestic laws before it can be applicable, it will be some time before the impact of the Convention can be accurately determined.
The End is Nigh for the Non-Dom Regime
Published in ThoughtLeaders4 Private Client Magazine, Helen McGhee expert analysis of the current state of non-dom tax regime and it's future.
HMRC Makes Changes to COP9
On 14 June 2023, HMRC published a substantially rewritten Code of Practice 9 (“COP9”). Helen McGhee and Megan Durnford set out the key changes implemented as a result of this publication.
Pandora Papers: HMRC issues nudge letters
The Pandora Papers leak of almost 12m documents back in 2021 purportedly exposed the secret accounts and dealings (including potential tax evasion/ avoidance and money laundering) of 35 world leaders (including the late HM Elizabeth II), as well as many politicians and billionaires. The data was obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists in Washington DC and led to one of the biggest ever global financial investigations.
Increased Investment in Personal Tax Compliance in the UK (Published in Thought Leaders 4 Private Client)
Advances in technology and increased international fiscal co-operation have made global personal tax compliance initiatives pop up in abundance in recent years. To compound the issue, the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the corresponding economic fallout prompted domestic governments to increase transparency in relation to investments held by wealthy foreign individuals (with a focus on oligarchs).
In the UK, in the context of the cost-of-living crisis, public opinion certainly seems to be in favour of increased accountability for high-net-worth individuals (eg, on 9 October 2022, 63% of Britons surveyed thought that “the rich are not paying enough and their taxes should be increased”).1
HMRC is one of the most sophisticated tax collection authorities in the world and the department is making significant investments in technology in the field of compliance work; they are well placed to take advantage of new international efforts to increase tax compliance, particularly considering the already extensive network of 130 bilateral tax treaties in the UK (the largest in the world).2 The UK was also a founding member of the OECD’s Joint International Taskforce on Shared Intelligence and Collaboration (JITSIC) forum.
This article discusses the main developments in support of the increased focus on international transparency and personal tax compliance in the UK. There are other international fiscal initiatives, particularly in the field of corporate taxation, but such initiatives are beyond the scope of this article.
It should be noted that a somewhat piecemeal approach, with constant tinkering makes compliance difficult for the taxpayer and is often criticised for lacking the certainty that a stable tax system needs to thrive.
This article was first published with ThoughtLeaders4 Private Client Magazine
Tax-Related Measures in the Autumn Statement 2022
On 17 November 2022, the Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, unveiled the contents of the Autumn Budget 2022. This comes after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) published its world economic forecast on 11 October 2022. The IMF expects the British economy to grow 3.6% in 2022 and 0.3% in 2023. Other major developed economies are also expected to stagnate next year, namely Spain (1.2%), the US (1.0%), France (0.7%), Italy (-0.2%) and Germany (-0.3%).
This note focuses on tax measures included as part of that statement.