Final Word from Friday, May 29, 2009

ČSSD, protector of the little people, is considering passing a law for requiring those at the top to file asset declarations. They would apply to real-estate purchases exceeding Kč 10m in a calendar year and purchases of "registered" items such as a car or yacht costing more than Kč 2m. Failure to show the legal origin of the funds would result in a 76% punitive tax. The catch is that the declarations would be on-demand only, leaving full discretion to the authorities to decide whether to compel a taxpayer to file. Leading the charge for this is Bohuslav "Suitcase" Sobotka, ČSSD's pick for finance minister. Instead of banning bearer shares or requiring tender applicants to reveal their beneficial owners, Sobotka wants to "combat dishonesty and tax evasion" by passing a law on discretionary asset declarations. Anyone wanting to avoid scrutiny would presumably have to pay a discreet visit to Mr. Sobotka.[Czech Republic Social Democrats wealth tax]

Glossary of difficult words

asset-declaration proposal - see Section II d) of linked document;

punitive - inflicted or intended as punishment; a tax rate that is extremely high;

on-demand - whenever required;

discretion - freedom to decide what should be done in a particular situation;

to compel - to force or oblige someone to do something;

leading the charge - leading the attack, drive, push;

bearer share - a share for which no register of ownership is kept;

beneficial owner - the real owner of a security, but not necessarily the registered owner;

scrutiny - critical observation or examination;

discreet - intentionally unobtrusive, inconspicuous, not attracting attention.


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