17.04.2018. Changes of taxes in UK from April 2018
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A number of changes to the UK taxes became effective from the beginning of the new fiscal year, on April 6, 2018:

• the national living wage is going up to £7.83 an hour;
• the personal alowance is going up to £11,850; so not required to pay tax on the income earned below this amount, (exceptions for high earners). As a result of the change, a typical basic-rate taxpayer will take home £1,075 more than in 2010-11.
• The State Pension will go up by 3%. That’s a cash increase of £3.65 a week for those in retirement.
• The threshold at which graduates begin to pay back their student loan will go up to £25,000. The threshold will continue to rise in line with changes to average earnings, to help those starting out in their careers.

3.04.2018. BBP offers bank account openings in USB Bank
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USB Bank Plc, which was established in 2009 in Cyprus. Shareholder of the bank is BLC BANK-FRANSABANK Group, Lebanon . Shareholders of the Group are Andan Kassar and Adel Kassar (Lebanon) holding 79,15%,
Deutsche Investitions – und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH (DEG) (Germany) -5% , Al-Fadl Holdings Limited (Saudi Arabia) -2,70 % , the Public Institution for Social Security (Kuwait) – 2%.

The Group, which is headquartered in Lebanon, maintains strong capital base and enjoys healthy liquidity as well as profitability. As at 31 December 2016 USB Bank Cyprus total assets – EUR 686.749.699.
UBS bank has representative offices  in Cyprus, Paris, Moscow, Minsk, Beirut, Abu Dhabi.

29.03.2018. USA taxpayers required to report incomes from virtual currencies transactions
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The US Internal Revenue Service on March 23 warned taxpayers that they must report incomes from virtual currency transactions in their income tax returns.
“Virtual currency transactions are taxable by law just like transactions in any other property”, informed IRS. Notice 2014-21 provides that virtual currency is treated as property for US federal tax purposes. General tax principles that apply to property transactions apply to transactions using virtual currency.
Taxpayers who do not properly report the income tax consequences of virtual currency transactions can be audited for those transactions and, when appropriate, can be liable for penalties and interest.
Anyone convicted of filing a false return is subject to a prison term of up to three years and a fine of up to USD 250,000.

29.03.2018. Latvia plans to cut to minimum bank accounts of shell companies
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On 21 March 2018, following the US allegations made on 13 February against ABLV, the third largest bank in Latvia, relating to incomplete know your customer procedure, and the resulting shareholders’ decision to wind up the Bank, the Government of Latvia decided to review the procedure for non-resident customers to use banking services in Latvia and to consider whether it is reasonable to decrease the number of shell companies’ accounts in Latvian banks.

The definition of a shell company is given in laws and regulations and currently it is a legal entity with at least one of the following features:

1) no connection between such legal entity and actual business activities while such legal entity is of little or no economic value, and a respective credit institution has no supporting documents to the contrary,
2) laws and regulations of the country of registration of such legal entity do not require it to prepare and submit to competent regulatory authorities any financial statements, including annual reports,
3) such legal entity has no place of business (premises) in the country of its registration.

On 3 April, the Government of Latvia expects to make a decision on bank services in Latvia for those clients using shell companies. In mid-April, this decision will be considered by the Saeima. Latvian banks will be given a relatively short period to terminate any cooperation with companies representing this type of risk. The Minister of Finance stated that this decision aims at ensuring stability and reliability of the Latvian financial sector and that financial institutions would only offer such services which would support the economy of Latvia rather than create risks for it.

On 18 March, Rietumu bank suspended services for offshore companies and LLPs / LPs and announced that will cease maintaining any such accounts from 21 May 2018. Accounts of companies falling under category of shell companies have been blocked at the moment, and to transfer money or close an account such companies are to undergo a compliance audit procedure.

Latvian LPB (Pasta bank) has suspended opening accounts pending a decision by the Latvian Financial and Capital Markets Commission specifying types of companies which may not have accounts in Latvian banks.

Norvik Banka is carrying out a compliance audit of payments made by shell companies so there can be delays in payments. Currently, the Bank is developing rules and guidelines for companies falling under the category of shell companies and wishing to continue working with the Bank.

7.03.2018. List of the least corrupted countries in 2017
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The index, which ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption according to experts and business people, uses a scale of 0 to 100, where 0 is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean. This year, the index found that more than two-thirds of countries score below 50, with an average score of 43 and that the majority of countries are making little or no progress in ending corruption.