🧩 The Play Store Mini

by Sreetama and Anshumi Shah


You can trust your computer with Mr. John McAfee but not taxes! The famous creator of the anti-virus McAfee was arrested in Spain and faces extradition in the USA. He failed to file tax returns for 4 years in a row despite earning millions despite making over $23m (£17.7m) by “leveraging his fame”, speaking engagements, crypto-currencies, and selling the rights to his life story.

🧩 The Play Store Mini

September 18th: Did Google mess with the wrong guy? 👊  Paytm was removed from the Play Store over Paytm Cricket League’s gambling policies. Arguably GPay’s Tez Shots is the same thing. The difference being – that’s Google. Does the King do whatever it wishes to?

The app was restored only hours after it was kicked out. There is also this difference between ‘game of chance’ and ‘game of skill.’ The former is associated with ‘gambling’ while the latter requires substantial ‘skill’ (more than 50%) to succeed.

September 30th: 💰 Google declared that it will start billing the apps for in-app purchases, such as subscriptions, virtual coins, and other special paid features. Moreover, the objective was to enforce the 30% commission (so-called ‘Google Tax’) it seeks from apps on Play Store. And talking about dominance – Google’s Android OS commands over a 90% share of the Indian smartphone market. A new idea started brewing up: India’s own app store.

October 3rd: The Startup Congress! 🤝 With Paytm’s CEO being the leader, a group of 40 Indian founders held a 1.5 hour long meeting with Union Ministry and IT Ministry over the grievances. How are startups supposed to survive with 30% of their revenue gone? And that comes along with additional conditions, too.

October 5th: Launch of the Paytm Mini App Store. 📱 Not exactly apps but the ‘mobile browser version of the app that has the same functionalities of an actual app.’ There will be no payment charges and the listing and distribution won’t carry any charges. It will enable small developers and businesses to set up low-cost, quick-to-build mini-apps using HTML and JavaScript technologies. Decathlon, Ola, Park+, Rapido, Netmeds, 1MG, Domino’s Pizza, FreshMenu, NoBroker have already joined Paytm’s Congress.

Considering the size of the Indian digital economy, can Paytm, backed by China’s SoftBank and Ant Group, become Play Store’s nightmare? Or is Google just too powerful?

🏎️ Track it to Tax it 

We’re here crying about 2020, while California is already in 2035 🔮. Starting from 2035, new vehicles sold in California will be zero-emission vehicles🚗. The State of California is taking drastic steps to do their part in reducing climate change and making the place greener. However, this step has raised some serious concerns in the minds of taxpayers! Questions like what will replace the gas tax and how will it affect the residents are popping up. Experts like Mr. Roadshow have predicted that in absence of a gas tax, drivers could be charged by the miles they traveled! Isn’t that something?

How will they charge by miles? The only alternatives users can see are:

1. Installing a GPS tracker in every car

2. Tracking the mileage of every California registered vehicle

Both of them bring their own challenges. Nobody said combating climate change is gonna be easy 😞 

Just out of curiosity… which alternative would you choose to let the Government charge you by miles?

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⚔️ratatatata-tax Breaks on Weapons!

Tax breaks have become synonymous with development opportunities. The government usually gives a tax break to a company or an industry to increase human and infrastructural development. Well, the tax breaks received by Australian weapons manufacturer Electro Optic Systems (EOS) may not be so humble (*Iron Man wants to enter this Aussie Chat🦸‍♂️*). The company finds itself under the heat for being a part of something anti-humanitarian while still receiving federal support in the name of growth. EOS sends remote weapons systems to the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia even though both countries are accused of war crimes. 

Previously, through multiple defensive explanations, this Australian manufacturer said: it is not directly supplying any weapons to contribute to the humanitarian crisis, they’re only selling “systems” that largely accommodate weapons. However, according to the company’s latest announcement, it has now moved into the production of directed laser energy weapons. This explicitly makes them a weapon manufacturer and a potential exporter to the Middle-East.

The question now is: Can the tax breaks given to such a company make the Australian government a partner of the war?

Are you wishing for them to have a Tony Stark Realisation moment for the sake of humanity?

🏝️ The Cayman Islands Removed from Tax Havens Blacklist

This British territory was at the top of the Tax Justice Network’s Financial Secrecy Index in February, with the rating of “exceptionally secretive” with all the hype around the FinCEN files, the Panama Papers, and the Luanda Leaks. They’ve kicked out from the black-list and it got them grinning from the left cheek to right.

This means that as of October 6, 2020 – EU’s blacklist of tax havens does not contain a single significant tax haven!

Among the 12 jurisdictions that remain in the list are – American Samoa, Anguilla, Barbados, Fiji, Guam, Palau, Panama, Samoa, Seychelles, Trinidad, and Tobago, the US Virgin Islands, and Vanuatu.

🍕 Junk Food Tax – Nightmare for the Hung-a-ry Couch Potatoes? – Crazy Tax Story

Yes. It is funny. The nation of Hungary had introduced a ‘Food Tax’ in the year 2011. The tax has many names – ‘hamburger tax’, ‘chip tax’, ‘fat tax’, etcetera. Officially, it’s called the Public Health Product Tax. The obesity rate at that time was 18.8% which was 3% higher than the European average. The new levy consisted of a ‘Value Added Tax’ of 27% over 25% of the initial tax. This led to boosting the cost of fatty foods by 10 forints (€ 0.037). Moreover, sodas and alcohol were taxed even higher The proceeds would go to health care.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban said, “Those who live unhealthily have to contribute more.” In other words, the new law is based on the idea that those whose diets land them in the hospital should help foot the bill, particularly in a country with a health care deficit of €370 million.`

But life was not easy for the poor. An average Hungarian with an average salary relied a lot on processed foods. But surprisingly, it seems to have worked — about 59% to 73% of consumers reduced their intake of the taxed products. What worked like magic was the broader nutritional value of foods that was taken into consideration. It was not ‘just calories’ the Hungarian lawmakers were looking at. About 40 percent of junk food manufacturers in Hungary tweaked the recipes to make their product healthier. 

In its first four years in operation, Hungary’s tax brought in 61.3B forints ($219M US) for public health spending.

Yes, it was a win-win situation!

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