10.09.2021. Taxation trends in the European Union

The EU continues to show a level of tax revenue significantly above than other advanced economies. In 2019, tax revenue in the EU stood at 40.1% of gross domestic product (GDP). The taxation structure remained stable in the EU. Revenue was almost equally distributed among indirect taxes, direct taxes and social contributions. The distribution of revenues by tax base (consumption, labour and capital) was very similar to those of previous years (around 52 % from labour, 28 % from consumption and 20 % from capital).

Total taxes (including compulsory actual social contributions) as % of GDP
2009 2018 2019 Ranking 2019
EU-27 countries 38,0 40,1 40,1
Denmark 45,0 44,3 46,1 1
France 42,2 46,3 45,5 2
Belgium 43,2 44,8 43,6 3
Lithuania 30,2 30,0 30,1 25
Romania 25,2 26,0 26,0 26
Ireland 28,1 22,5 22,1 27
Iceland 31,3 37,2 35,8
Norway 41,3 39,7 40,1
United Kingdom 32,2 33,8 33,8

The table shows the first 3 and last 3 places in the EU country.

3.09.2021. Operating results of Latvian banks Summary Q1 2021

Increase in assets. The value of assets increased by EUR 1.08 billion in Q1 2021 and reached the largest value since 2018.
Total assets of Latvian commercial banks were EUR 25.64 billion as of March 31, 2021. It is the largest value in the last three years period.
Increase in deposits. Total deposits of the Latvian banking sector were EUR 19.57 billion as of March 31, 2021. The portfolio increased by 5% or EUR 0.91 billion in the 1st quarter 2021 and reached the largest volume since the end of 2017.
Not-audited net profit of Latvian banking sector.
Total profit of banks in Latvia in 3 months 2021 increased by EUR 35 million compared to the results of 3 months 2020, and reached EUR 60 million.
TOP 5 most profitable Finance Latvia Association member banks in 3 months 2021:
1. SEB banka – EUR 27.2 million;
2. Swedbank – EUR 16.4 million;
3. Citadele banka – EUR 3.2 million;
4. BlueOrange Bank – EUR 1.0 million;
5. LPB Bank – EUR 0.9 million.

Source: Finance Latvia Association

27.08.2021. UK citizenship demand from Europeans soars 45%

Applications for citizenship by EU nationals soared 45% compared to the previous year, to 63,872, according to Home Office statistics released on 27 May covering the year to 31 March 2021.
Europeans now account for more than a third (36%) of all citizenship applications, compared with 12% in 2016.
Around 5.4m EU citizens have applied for the right to stay in the UK under a scheme that closed at the end of June 2021.
There were 176,910 applications for British citizenship in the year ending March 2021, 7% more than in the year ending March 2020.
Since 2012, the number of Non-EU applications has decreased while EU applications have increased.
Increases in citizenship applications from EU nationals since 2016 are likely to reflect more people seeking to confirm their status in the UK following the EU referendum and the UK’s exit from the EU, the Home Office said.
Applications made by non-EU nationals fell by 7% in the year ending March 2021 to 113,038 although the trend in non-EU citizenship applications has been broadly stable since 2014.
There were 50,279 applications for British citizenship in the first quarter of 2021, 14% higher than in the same quarter in 2020.
The increase in the first quarter of 2021 was driven by applications from EU nationals (17,252) which were 37% higher than in the first quarter of 2020 (12,609).

23.08.2021. Payoneer to pay US Treasury $1.4 million fine over sanctions violations

The US Treasury Department said that Payoneer, a fintech startup founded by Israeli entrepreneurs, has agreed to pay a fine of some $1.4 million as part of a settlement for more than 2,000 apparent sanctions violations, by processing payments for parties located in Iran, Sudan and Syria among others.
Payoneer processed 2,241 payments for parties located in certain jurisdictions and regions subject to sanctions including the Crimea region of Ukraine, Iran, Sudan, and Syria, and 19 payments on behalf of sanctioned persons, on a list compiled by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) at the Treasury Department.
The payments were made between February 4, 2013, and February 20, 2018, and resulted in a total of over $800,000 worth of transactions made by sanctioned people and people in sanctioned jurisdictions.
Payoneer’s policies and procedures dating back as far as June 2015 specified that transactions involving parties in sanctioned locations were prohibited, but the testing and auditing conducted to verify that these policies and procedures were being implemented failed to identify the compliance deficiencies that led to the Apparent Violations.
Aggravating factors, were the fact that the firm failed to exercise a minimal degree of caution or care for its sanctions compliance obligations, and Payoneer had reason to know the location of the users it subsequently identified as located in jurisdictions and regions subject to sanctions.
Among the mitigating factors were that upon discovering potential sanctions compliance issues, senior management acted quickly to self-disclose the apparent violations, and has said that it has “terminated the conduct” that led to the apparent violations and took “remedial measures” to minimize the risk of similar occurrences in the future.

6.08.2021. EU plans to ban cash payments over €10,000

Cash payments over €10,000 for transactions such as car purchases, home improvements bills will be banned under EU rules expected to come into force within three years.
The EU legislation is being considered in an attempt to clamp down on cross-border money laundering on a wider European basis.
The move could affect a large section of society who choose to operate solely on a cash basis.
The focus would  be now on things like car purchases, jewellery, antiques and even more unusual items like funeral charges.
The proposed measures extend the capping for large cash payments to services too, so that for example funeral services above €10,000 would have to be paid through card or via a bank.
The ban is aimed at tackling money laundering but also comes as European authorities are looking towards an increasingly digital society, including plans for a purely digital version of the euro being examined by the European Central Bank.
The European Union’s heaviest cash users are in Germany and Austria where cash remains king for most consumers.
In Sweden, in contrast, digital payments predominate.
Ireland lies between the two extremes.
Cash use here had been declining in recent years and that accelerated during the Covid pandemic.
Some businesses prefer to deal in cash in order to avoid paying tax on income, however rules that dictate how people can spend money are likely to raise privacy and civil liberties concerns.
Even though cash use is down, Irish consumers withdrew €21.44bn from ATMs last year and it remains particularly popular among older people and people in rural areas, according to the Central Bank.
Earlier this year, the Central Bank warned that stigmatising cash shoppers by only accepting card or digital payments risks increasing social isolation and reduces consumer choice.
Ireland is one of eight out of the 27 EU member states which does not have a limit on large cash payments, although existing anti-money laundering rules here already put a cap on carrying large sums in and out of the country and impose reporting obligations on financial institutions and professionals.