That the Guardian is wrong about everything, always, is by now common knowledge. True, they manage to spell their own masthead correctly these days – something that wasn’t always the case – but the verity of the rest of the newspaper seems to have declined in tandem.
An example being this today, about the cum-ex scandal. I find myself surprised that a conviction was gained to be honest. I thought that the problem was the stupidity of the German government and the law, not that someone drove a coach and horses through it. But, well, there we are.
The thing is though this is not all that complex a deal. German law provides a repayment of dividend taxes paid under certain circumstances. The scam was to fiddle in order that two people gained the repayment of the same dividend tax. Not all that complicated to understand. And then we get The Guardian:
Known as “cum-ex”, the scheme involved trading shares at high speed on or just before the dividend record date – the day the company checks its records to identify shareholders – and then claiming two or more refunds for capital gains tax which had in fact only been paid to the state once.
It wasn’t capital gains tax. It was the dividend tax. Not a tax upon capital at all, one on income.
Institutional investors in Germany (as opposed to retail investors) may claim back dividend
tax (in part) from the government. For years however, investors in Germany made use of a
loophole in German tax law, enabling multiple parties to reimburse the same dividend tax.
Or, that popular encyclopedia, written entirely by volunteers:
A network of banks, stock traders, and lawyers had obtained billions from European treasuries through suspected fraud and speculation involving dividend taxes.
The Guardian, less accurate than Wikipedia. That high speed whine you can hear is CP Scott revolving up to speed.
And you know what really grates? Even if you explained it to Philip Oltermann and his assembled layers of editors they wouldn’t understand the mistake they’d made.