Word of the Chairman

Dear Readers, Trustconsult Group would like to thank you all for your confidence and faithfulness to the Group.

As we are permanently requested by our clients and partners to comment on the developments of the international tax, legal and regulatory environment, we felt there was a need from these to go beyond the usual politically correct statements that can be heard or read in medias.

As a result and as from this issue onward, and in addition to the usual content of your newsletter that we are striving to make as professional and objective as possible by a very careful selection of our information sources, we would like to add a more personal touch reflecting our insight of the industry. This shall be done always keeping in mind our independence allowing us to freely go beyond the politically acceptable positions, from a macro and micro-economic standpoint also commenting on the important trends and hot topics of the news.

The form of our communication via our newsletter instead of this or that social network has been made on purpose, as we impose ourselves a high level of confidentiality and security in the way we communicate with our esteemed readers, and feel sometime a bit uncomfortable with the (mis-) use of social networks, methods of which are sometime still unclear and little transparent.

You are obviously most welcome to interact and share your experiences which shall obviously enrich our mutual practice.

Thanks again for your continued support, now that we have received so much from you, it is time to return the favor with very best regards to all of you!

Christian Bühlmann

Chairman

Back to the (past and future) reality!

BEPS or BAPS?

None of them are the new song from Rihanna, it is actually the trendy acronym designating the Base Erosion Profit Shifting phenomenon utilized by global companies to best structure their international operation in a legal, tax optimized way and targeted by the OECD as a harmful practice. This acronym sounds a little bit like a criminal presumed guilty. We were therefore trying to think of something more neutral that could be the BAPS for Base Allocation Profit Sheltering which is an approach that could also be supported by regular case law from various different EU countries supporting the choice by the taxpayer of the least expensive tax route.

By the way, it is interesting to note that OECD officials are based in Paris and are totally tax exempt on their professional income…while ruling the entrepreneurial world…

Not considering ourselves enough expert to technically comment on BEPS, we would like to outline a few important objective factors to help us understanding this phenomenon:

Globalisation : A business nowadays, especially if it is internet-based, is becoming international very fast. Good or bad, it is a given, a matter of fact. While the tax rules and regulations have remained very local. Therefore a growing gap has been created between the legitimate concern and responsibilities of companies’ executive to maximize the resources potentially dedicated to finance investments and company’s development, and the necessary needs of a state to apply taxation, collect taxes to finance public spending.

Darwinian law : “The survival of the fittest” is the universal law of the private sector. While we see that result-based culture still has to progress among public sector which sometimes also negatively impact large institutions of the private sector which are too much relying on their systemic size to skip their accountability responsibility (“too big to fail”).Dexia is a very good example of an endless story in that respect. The goal is to state that as long as this dichotomy shall continue to exist, it is going to be pointless to make the private sector paying the price.

Misleading approach of tax or base harmonization : Tax has always been and shall remain a tool of economic promotion and policy. Why would a US corporation have chosen Ireland to base their European or sometime worldwide headquarters, without some serious tax incentives? Beyond the political aspect, why is Tibet trying to attract Private Equity funds with a privileged tax regime? In a few decades, Luxembourg managed to turn its economy from mostly agricultural and industry based to now being majority service oriented thus creating the second largest financial center in the world in terms of asset under management right behind the US. Is this not benefiting to the whole EU to have it in its heart?

It is indeed fair to wonder why competition would be healthy in everything but taxation.

While listening to each other needs and constraints, let us all try to keep on doing what we know best, and for politicians to focus on policies, and for businessman to create value,…

Wishing you all to benefit from the announced global economic recovery.

Very kind regards.

Christian Bühlmann

Chairman