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May 13, 2013

IRS kept shifting targets in U.S. tax-exempt groups scrutiny -report

WASHINGTON, May 12 (Reuters) – When U.S. tax agents started
singling out non-profit groups for extra scrutiny in 2010, they
looked at first only for key words such as ‘Tea Party,’ but
later they focused on criticisms by groups of “how the country
is being run,” according to investigative findings reviewed by
Reuters on Sunday.

Over two years, IRS field office agents repeatedly changed
their criteria while sifting through thousands of applications
from groups seeking tax-exempt status to select ones for
possible closer examination, the findings showed.

May 12, 2013

Timeline: Events in U.S. IRS ‘Tea Party’ scrutiny scandal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Internal Revenue Service is under investigation for extra scrutiny it gave to conservative groups that applied for tax-exempt status, a practice that elicited complaints from the groups during the 2012 presidential election campaigns.

Following are some key events in the fast-developing scandal that has embarrassed the agency and poses another potential headache for the Obama administration at a time when Republicans continue to raise questions about the administration’s actions related to the deadly assault on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, last September.

Apr 29, 2013

Tax strategy may be key to Verizon Wireless deal

By Kevin Drawbaugh and Nanette Byrnes

(Reuters) – Verizon Communications Inc’s chances of buying the 45-percent stake in Verizon Wireless owned by the UK’s Vodafone Group Plc will hinge, at least in part, on the quality of tax advice it is getting.

Verizon (VZ.N: Quote, Profile, Research), the No. 2 U.S. telecommunications company, may have found a way to structure a purchase of the stake so that Vodafone (VOD.L: Quote, Profile, Research) can avoid a multi-billion dollar U.S. capital gains tax bill, sources familiar with Verizon’s plans said. The possibility of a huge tax bill has previously been regarded by analysts as a big hurdle to any such deal.

Apr 29, 2013

Analysis: Tax strategy may be key to Verizon Wireless deal

By Kevin Drawbaugh and Nanette Byrnes

(Reuters) – Verizon Communications Inc’s chances of buying the 45-percent stake in Verizon Wireless owned by the UK’s Vodafone Group Plc will hinge, at least in part, on the quality of tax advice it is getting.

Verizon, the No. 2 U.S. telecommunications company, may have found a way to structure a purchase of the stake so that Vodafone can avoid a multi-billion dollar U.S. capital gains tax bill, sources familiar with Verizon’s plans said. The possibility of a huge tax bill has previously been regarded by analysts as a big hurdle to any such deal.

Apr 12, 2013

Obama’s income fell in election year, paid 18.4 percent tax rate

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama paid an effective federal tax rate of 18.4 percent in 2012 and saw income from his best-selling books drop as he ran for re-election, according to his tax returns released by the White House on Friday.

Obama and his wife Michelle had adjusted gross income of $608,611 last year, down from $789,674 in 2011, and paid $112,214 in total taxes, compared to $162,074 in 2011.

Apr 10, 2013

US IRS whistleblower program slammed by tax informants’ attorneys

WASHINGTON, April 10 (Reuters) – The U.S. Internal Revenue
Service is missing a chance to raise a lot more revenue by
turning a cold shoulder to people offering up the inside scoop
on tax dodgers, lawyers who represent such whistleblowers said
on Wednesday.

At a hearing about new rules for the IRS whistleblower
program, officials got an earful of advice from several lawyers
who make money representing informants and who, in turn, want to
make more of it for themselves and their clients.

Apr 10, 2013

Tax informants’ attorneys slam U.S. IRS whistleblower program

WASHINGTON, April 10 (Reuters) – The U.S. Internal Revenue
Service is missing a chance to raise a lot more revenue by
turning a cold shoulder to people offering up the inside scoop
on tax dodgers, lawyers who represent such whistleblowers said
on Wednesday.

At a hearing about new rules for the IRS whistleblower
program, officials got an earful of advice from several lawyers
who make money representing informants and who, in turn, want to
make more of it for themselves and their clients.

Apr 9, 2013

FBI probes trading as KPMG quits as Herbalife, Skechers auditor

April 9 (Reuters) – In a case that could shake one of the
world’s largest accounting firms, KPMG said it
resigned as auditor of two U.S. companies as the FBI on Tuesday
began investigating insider trading allegations involving a
former KPMG senior partner.

The companies – nutritional products group Herbalife Ltd
and footwear maker Skechers USA Inc – said
separately that KPMG had quit as their auditor in connection
with alleged leaks of nonpublic information.

Apr 8, 2013

Obama’s 2014 budget to help shape broad U.S. tax debate

WASHINGTON, April 8 (Reuters) – President Barack Obama will
put forward on Wednesday a list of detailed proposals to
overhaul the U.S. tax code, hoping this time Congress will stir
itself to action.

In his 2014 budget plan, the president will seek to change
how Social Security is adjusted for inflation – a controversial
idea that would directly impact the retirement program’s roughly
57 million beneficiaries.

Apr 8, 2013
via Tax Break

Essential reading: Small businesses shrug off Obamacare delays, and more

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Welcome to the top tax and accounting headlines from Reuters and other sources.

 * No big deal? Small business groups shrug off delays to Obamacare’s health care exchanges. J.D. Harrison – The Washington Post. The Obama administration has delayed part of the health care law designed to give small business owners and employees more flexibility when purchasing insurance, which could temporarily undermine lawmakers’ intent to drive down the cost of health coverage. Link  

* Why we support a revenue-neutral carbon tax. George Shultz and Gary Becker – The Wall Street Journal. Coupled with the elimination of costly energy subsidies, it would encourage competition. Link