On 6 January, the Il Globo reported that the move was raising concerns among residents accustomed to the enclave’s special status. It is situated on the banks of Lake Lugano in the Swiss canton of Ticino around 23 km from Italy, has bounced between the countries since at least the 7th Century. Its special status meant that while the 2000 or so residents paid their taxes in Italy, most of the public services provided by Swiss companies. Residents were also exempt from VAT and, because the cost of living is higher in Switzerland, they enjoyed tax breaks. A deal was reached on 20 December. Residents will have to pay VAT, although it is aligned with the Swiss consumption tax of 7.7% – much lower than Italy’s 22% rate.
On 6 January, the Guernsey Press and others reported that Guernsey is to remain on Netherlands’ list of low-tax jurisdictions for the purposes of enforcing certain anti-tax avoidance rules, the Dutch Ministry of Finance has announced. The blacklist contains 8 jurisdictions that are currently banned by the EU, as well as a further 15 low-tax jurisdictions, including Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man. They have corporate tax rates of less than 9%, and fall within the scope of new controlled foreign companies (CFC) rules, which became effective from 1 January 2019. Guernsey and the Isle of Man employ zero rates of corporation tax.
On 6 January, the Wall Street Journal reported that officials say the growing scale of shipping operations, with the biggest container ships doubling in size over the past decade, have made them an attractive target for drug traffickers. It is reported that the rule of thumb around the world is that only 1 in 10 containers gets checked. Seizures of cocaine aboard commercial ships and private vessels world-wide more than tripled over the past 3 years. It is said that the moves by drug smugglers to piggyback on their operations raises new concerns for international supply chains, and cocaine is increasingly being moved by ships doing regional South America sailings.
On 10 January, according to Eversheds Sutherland, the 5th EU Money Laundering Directive comes into force in the UK. An article details key changes implemented by the Money Laundering Regulations 2019.