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Archive for taxes

Airlines Shuffle in Response to Rising Costs

By Linda Tancs

It’s been no secret that the airlines are feeling the pain of rising fuel costs.  Now, in a move attributed to those costs, Delta has announced a buy-out package for a whopping 30,000 employees.  U.S. carriers aren’t the only ones reeling from expenses, however.  Alitalia has a deal in the works to combine with Air France-KLM.  The billion dollar deal is being hailed by Alitalia’s board as a means to achieve higher critical mass and create synergies that cannot be otherwise accomplished through traditional alliances, particularly in this cyclical downturn worsened by rising fuel costs.  Of course, tour and cruise operators have likewise responded to fuel costs by raising or implementing surcharges on customers.  And, as any visit to the gas pump shows, the end is nowhere in sight.

2008 Will Usher In Changes in St. Bart’s

By Linda Tancs

Postcode aficionados, take note:  in 2008, St. Bart’s postcode will change from 97133 to something beginning with “977.”  But that’s not the only change to take place in this small yet sophisticated French West Indies island–the new year brings a new tax on guests.  A resort tax (often referred to as a tourism development tax) of 5% will apply to the island’s 160 + hotels, condos and villas.  No doubt this levy will greatly enhance the local economy.  After all, consider the economic benefit conferred on Orlando, Florida courtesy of its 6% tax remitted by moneymakers like Magic Kingdom properties.  By some accounts, the Mouse contributes as much as 33% to Orlando’s resort tax revenue, which tallied in the $14M range this year.  Considering the exclusivity of this French isle, it’s a wonder that its luxe visitors (including A-list celebs) weren’t taxed sooner.  Better late than never, as they say.

The Bag Tax

By Linda Tancs

As environmental concerns drive consumers and businesses to forego the ubiquitous plastic shopping bag, international shoppers should be aware of certain disincentives–like bag surcharges–for the use of store-supplied plastic bags at the local grocery store.  Ireland, for instance, charges 15 cents per bag, which apparently has folks lugging their own to the market.  However, this practice is hardly new.  There was a time, 20 or so years ago, when markets in the U.K. countryside routinely charged for in-house bagging and rare was the sight of a shopper without a bag or two–or even a cart–to take away their goods.  Maybe it was the entrance of “express shopping” or mini-marts in the cities that caused the practice to abandon in favor of easy convenience for the time-challenged shopper.  Whatever the reason, let’s cheer the return of those bygone days, even if we need a little tax to get there.

A Taxing Situation

By Linda Tancs

 In a bid to address the airlines’ contribution to global warming (ahem–assessed at 1.6% of all global greenhouse gas emissions by one group), Tony Blair’s successor-in-waiting (Gordon Brown) proposed a passenger air tax that doubles the existing tax on long-haul passenger flights.  As we’ve seen in the past, taxes come and taxes go.  On this side of the pond, the FAA recently proposed eliminating certain taxes such as the domestic segment tax, the Alaska/Hawaii tax and the frequent flyer tax.  International arrival and departure taxes would be somewhat reduced as well.

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