Saverin no longer American
Eduardo Saverin, the billionaire co-founder of Facebook Inc, renounced his US citizenship before an initial public offering (IPO) that values the social network at as much as US$96 billion, a move that may reduce his tax bill. Saverin, 30, joins a growing number of people giving up US citizenship ahead of a possible increase in tax rates for top earners. The Brazilian-born resident of Singapore is one of several people who helped Mark Zuckerberg start Facebook in a Harvard University dormitory and stand to reap billions of dollars after the world’s largest social network holds its IPO. Saverin’s name is on a list of people who chose to renounce citizenship as of April 30, published by the Internal Revenue Service. Saverin made the move “around September” last year, said Tom Goodman, a spokesman for Saverin.
Unions back ‘Buffett Rule’
Australia’s trade unions said yesterday they would call on the government to introduce a millionaires’ tax similar to US President Barack Obama’s so-called “Buffett Rule.” The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) said it wanted to ensure mining billionaires such as Clive Palmer, Andrew Forrest and Gina Rinehart paid a minimum tax on their incomes regardless of how they were derived. “The income tax system is absurdly inequitable when it comes to taxing the mega-rich,” ACTU assistant secretary Tim Lyons said. Lyons said the ACTU policy would be similar to top-end tax changes debated recently in the US requiring those earning more than US$1 million per year to pay at least 30 percent in taxes. The ACTU proposal would be aimed at millionaires whose main income was from capital gains and would require them to pay at least as much tax, proportional to income, as ordinary working Australians, Lyons said.
Profits up post-tsunami
Publicly traded firms in Japan expect their combined pre-tax profit to rise 24 percent in the current fiscal year, leaving behind a year hit by natural disasters, a survey said yesterday. Overall sales are seen to rise 6 percent for the year to March next year, the sharpest gain since the global financial crisis of 2008 that followed the spectacular failure of US investment bank Lehman Brothers, the Nikkei newspaper said. Automakers should lead the gains, as they expect a rebound in production on growing demand in emerging economies and the key US market, the leading business daily said. The seven major automakers project a combined pretax profit of ￥2.74 trillion (US$34.27 billion), up about ￥1.3 trillion from the previous year, it said.
Weidmann warns Hollande
Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann warned French president-elect Francois Hollande yesterday against tampering with the European Central Bank or the EU fiscal pact. “Any modification in the statutes [of the European Central Bank] would be dangerous,” Weidman said in an interview with the daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung, when asked about Hollande’s proposal during his electoral campaign to allow the ECB to take measures to support the economy or lend directly to states. With regard to Hollande’s campaign pledge to renegotiate the European fiscal pact, he said “it is clear that must be refused.” “There is a European custom that you keep to accords you have signed,” he said. His comments come ahead of Hollande’s visit to Berlin this week, when he is due to have talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday evening.