World Business Quick Take

Agencies

Tue, Mar 04, 2014 - Page 15

TAXES

HMRC drops bitcoin tax plan

Britain’s tax authority, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), is preparing to abort its plans to tax bitcoin trading only days after the currency’s leading exchange, Mt Gox, collapsed after losing almost US$500 million of customer deposits to hackers, the Financial Times reported. The agency said in a meeting with UK traders that it would no longer levy 20 percent value-added tax on bitcoin transactions and also said it would not tax margins either, according to the paper. Corporation tax and other taxes would still apply, the paper said. “HMRC has been working closely with the bitcoin industry on the tax treatment of trading in bitcoins and commission. We will be issuing guidance shortly,” the agency said.

GAMBLING

Macau’s revenue soars 40%

Macau casino revenue climbed 40 percent to a record last month, beating estimates, after a jump in Chinese visitors during the Lunar New Year holiday. Casino revenue in the territory rose to 38 billion patacas (US$4.75 billion), exceeding the 36 billion patacas median of seven analysts’ estimates in a Bloomberg News survey. The previous record was 36.5 billion patacas in October last year. More than 770,000 Chinese visitors traveled to Macau during the Jan. 31 to Feb. 6 holiday, an increase of 23 percent from a year earlier, the Macau Government Tourist Office said.

INDONESIA

January trade deficit reported

The nation swung to a trade deficit in January as a controversial government ban on mineral ore shipments crimped overall exports, data showed yesterday. The January deficit of US$431 million compared with a US$1.5 billion surplus in December last year, the Statistics Agency said. The deficit was Indonesia’s first monthly shortfall since September last year. However, inflation eased last month, the agency said yesterday, the latest sign the economy was stabilizing after a rough last year. Inflation came in at 7.75 percent, lower than analyst estimates, and compared to 8.22 percent in January.

IRAN

Lessening reliance on oil

State TV says President Hassan Rouhani has sent a new budget that is less dependent on oil revenue to his administration for implementation. The report on Sunday said the budget was finalized after more than two months of parliamentary debate. The nation’s fiscal year begins on March 21. The budget will depend on oil revenue by up to 35 percent, compared with the current 42 percent level. The report said that non-oil exports, taxes and savings from lower energy and food subsidies will make up the difference.

HOUSING

Daiwa House eyes Texas

Daiwa House Industry Co, Japan’s biggest homebuilder by market value, plans to invest ¥150 billion (US$1.48 billion) in US rental housing, three times more than it had aimed to allocate to overseas investments, to boost revenue. Daiwa House will acquire and develop leasing properties in Texas and allocate the funds over the next three years, the Osaka-based company said yesterday in an e-mailed statement. The homebuilder targets ¥50 billion of revenue in the US by the year ending March 2019, it said. Daiwa House plans to invest in Texas because of its rising population and it will target “Generation Y,” those born between 1975 to 1989, an age group seen to support demand in the leasing market, the company said.