Ripple effects of Covid-19 may include changes to tax landscape and sauce shortages

Finance ministers from leading economies are looking at a global minimum corporate tax and more.

Leading carmaker moves to damage control after an April Fools’ Day joke was taken too seriously, while restaurants are not finding the shortage of ketchup sachets funny. Meanwhile, finance ministers from the world’s leading economies mulled a global minimum corporate tax, and non fungible tokens come under the spotlight.

World tax
A global minimum tax on corporate profits is being looked at by finance ministers within the G20, a grouping of the world’s largest economies, thanks to increasing international consensus on tackling avoidance after the pandemic.

The US made the case for an international base rate this week, in a move by the Biden administration to end US resistance to international tax reforms, reports The Guardian.

According to Reuters, France and Germany have signalled support for the US approach, which could pave the way for a landmark agreement on global tax changes this summer.

NFT risk
Cryptocurrency entrepreneur Vignesh Sundaresan, aka MetaKovan, recently made headlines after paying $69 million (R1003.47 million) for the non-fungible token (NFT) of Beeple’s “Everydays: The First 5,000 Days.”

However, he says anyone trying to profit from NFTs is “taking a huge risk”.

Average prices for NFTs tracked by Nonfungible.com tumbled almost 70 percent from a peak in February through early April, according to a Bloomberg article.

Joke volt
An early April Fools’ Day stunt by carmaker Volkswagen was taken seriously, resulting in market confusion and moving the company’s shares.

The company had announced in a press release that it would rebrand itself as Voltswagen of America to promote its electric car strategy, but later made an official announcement that the move was a joke.

Kyle DeYoung, a former Securities and Exchange Commission enforcement official and partner at the law firm Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP, said that while there is a tradition of companies making April Fools’ Day announcements, usually they are so trivial or obviously a joke that they don’t move the company’s stock, reported The Wall Street Journal.

Fair use copyright
Google has emerged victorious in a long running software development case, with the US Supreme Court holding that it did not commit copyright infringement against Oracle when it copied snippets of programming language to build its Android operating system.

The technology giant’s copying of so-called application programming interfaces from Oracle's Java SE was an example of fair use, according to the court’s decision.

In addition to resolving a multibillion-dollar dispute between the tech titans, the ruling helps affirm a longstanding practice in software development, but no decision was handed down on the broader question of whether APIs are copyrightable, reads an article on CNN Business.

Scarce sauce
Ketchup packets, or little sachets of tomato sauce, are the latest casualty to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Many American restaurants, which have faced stop-start openings and safety concerns, are now dealing with a ketchup shortage. Managers are using generic versions, pouring out bulk ketchup into individual cups and hitting the aisles of Costco for substitutes, according to The Wall Street Journal.

As with most countries in the world that imposed hard lockdowns due to Covid-19, many sit-down restaurants turned to take-aways in order to continue with trading. This increased the need for individual ketchup packets for both fast food chains and private restaurants.

Packet prices are up 13 percent since January 2020, and their market share has exploded at the expense of tabletop bottles, according to restaurant-business platform Plate IQ.