Sugar for the goose and salt for the gander

As sent by my friend Rajeev Mantri in an email:

FT View on India taxing Vodafone (Feb 12 2014):

“India’s tax laws are deterring investors – Foreign companies become alarmed by unpredictable and aggressive treatment”

FT View on EU taxing Apple retrospectively (August 30 2016) :

“Brussels strikes at Apple’s tax planning – EU ruling on Irish scheme raises bar against aggressive fiscal deals”

Both are cases of retrospective taxation, should be condemned. But FT seems to think quite differently of EU’s action.

He is spot on about FT’s deliberate inconsistency. I was reminded of what Dr. Y.V. Reddy wrote in his book, published in 2010. He said that investors treat Emerging Economies differently and he, as a policy maker from an emerging economy, was entitled to treat investors (domestic and foreign) differently. Symmetry. Sauce for the goose and sauce for the gander. Well, of course, the elitist FT does not see it that way.

That is one angle to the story. The other angle is that it is also a matter of relative strength of the nations and of the companies. We must choose our moments and the adversary to fight against. In that regard, India might have erred and EU might not have.


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