Rabu, 07 Januari 2015

Oh No, you too China ?

The United States believes, sometimes, that it is so unique that it exists in Planet HIP 116454b (discovered yesterday). Some of its laws and practices are completely unintelligible to other members of the species Homo Sapiens. Chief amongst them is its laws relating to guns. A lesser dramatic field is the one on taxing global incomes of Americans (and now even green card holders). This blogger railed about it in the past here.

Now it appears that the Americans are no longer alone in Planet HIP 116454b, at least in regard to the taxation law. The Chinese are also joining them there.

World over, the principle of taxing income is that you pay income tax in the country where you live and not in the country you are a citizen of. So, if you are an expatriate living in another country, you pay taxes in that country of residence. This seems reasonable. You utilise the services of the state where you live - infrastructure, police, defence, healthcare, etc etc. It is therefore only right that you pay taxes to enjoy those facilities.

America believes differently. It believes that you pay taxes where you live (it can do precious little about that) AND pay taxes in America. To control and monitor this, America has enacted the draconian FATCA, which can be considered reasonable only in Planet 116454b.

Now China is proposing to engage in the same stupidity. Actually , it appears the law was always like that in China, except that it just wasn't enforced. Considering that the "law" in China is not what is enforced by the judiciary, but what is the prevailing interpretation of the Communist Party, this in reality is a change in the law. They are going down the same path as the Americans - demanding that other countries hand over information relating to their citizens, and starting to hound them with Ramamrithamesque legislation.

It actually is quite stupid of China to be trying this. The wealthy Chinese who are emigrating abroad all want to give up their Chinese passport as fast as possible and become citizens of America or Australia or wherever. The majority of their overseas citizens who will be affected are the poor migrant workers working in Lesotho or Burkina Faso building roads or constructing buildings. If the attempt is to get at local Chinese stashing their wealth abroad (of which there are plenty), they can already do that and in any case this move is not targeted at those who are Chinese residents anyway.

A real danger is that our own home grown Ramamritham is eyeing all these moves with undisguised glee. Its probably a matter of time (next budget ?) that he will make a similar move. This blogger is least affected - he lives in India and pays his taxes here anyway. It is his overseas friends , who are readers of this blog and have retained their Indian citizenship, who must start to quake in their boots.
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