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Oct 22, 2013

Judge declines to halt ‘Obamacare’ insurance subsidies

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Foes of President Barack Obama’s healthcare law lost a bid on Tuesday to put an immediate stop to a key part of the law – the insurance subsidies in the 34 U.S. states that declined to establish their own online marketplaces.

At a court hearing, U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman in Washington, D.C., declined to grant a preliminary injunction sought by a group of individuals and small businesses that in a lawsuit call the subsidies unlawful.

Oct 15, 2013

Measured praise from U.S. senators on Irish tax loophole change

By Kevin Drawbaugh

(Reuters) – Two senior U.S. senators on Tuesday lauded Ireland for its decision to close a loophole used by Apple Inc (AAPL.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) to shelter over $40 billion from taxation, but stressed questions linger about Dublin’s role in corporate tax dodging.

“Ireland’s promise to reform its tax rules to stop multinationals from using Irish subsidiaries to escape or defer paying taxes anywhere in the world is encouraging,” senators Carl Levin and John McCain said in a joint statement.

Oct 4, 2013

Shutdown slows U.S. bilateral talks to fight offshore tax dodgers

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The federal government shutdown has interrupted U.S. efforts to negotiate agreements with other countries on implementing an anti-tax evasion law that is to take effect next year, tax lawyers said on Friday.

The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), enacted in 2010, is to take effect next July. It will require foreign financial institutions to tell the U.S. Internal Revenue Service about Americans’ offshore accounts worth more than $50,000.

Sep 3, 2013

Offshore tax-dodger dragnet widens with U.S.-Swiss bank deal: lawyers

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. government, stepping up its pursuit of American offshore tax dodgers worldwide, stands to gather an abundance of leads through a bank information-sharing deal between the United States and Switzerland, tax lawyers said on Tuesday.

The pact last week marked a turning point in a lengthy dispute between Bern and Washington, and opened the door for about 100 second-tier Swiss banks to turn over information about American account holders to the U.S. government.

Aug 29, 2013

U.S. Treasury grants wide tax recognition to same-sex couples

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – All legal same-sex marriages will be recognized for U.S. federal tax purposes, the Obama administration said on Thursday, allowing married gay couples to claim the same tax benefits as their heterosexual peers.

As expected after a landmark Supreme Court ruling in June, the U.S. Treasury and Internal Revenue Service said:

Aug 11, 2013

Banks test U.S. IRS anti-tax shelter weapon in STARS wars

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A sharp tool in the U.S. government’s fight against corporate tax shelters will be put to the test in the months ahead as the Internal Revenue Service grapples with four major banks over structured transactions done a decade ago with Barclays Plc.

The IRS contends the transactions, known as STARS deals, were designed purely to facilitate tax dodging. The banks say the deals were done to enhance their core businesses and are challenging the IRS over hefty tax bills it has imposed.

Jun 18, 2013

‘Conservative Republican’ at IRS defends treatment of Tea Party

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A manager from a U.S. Internal Revenue Service office in Cincinnati where staff have been accused of unfairly subjecting conservative groups to extra scrutiny has said his agents were not influenced by any political agenda.

John Shafer, who described himself as “a conservative Republican,” told congressional investigators he sought advice from his boss on how to handle the first Tea Party application he and a lower-level agent came across in February 2010 because it was a new, high-profile issue.

Jun 17, 2013

Political optics overlooked in ‘Tea Party’ review: IRS official

By Kim Dixon and Kevin Drawbaugh

(Reuters) – Internal Revenue Service employees in Ohio, who singled out conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status for extra scrutiny, likely did not consider the political implications, an IRS official in Washington has told congressional investigators.

Providing additional details about the worst crisis to hit the IRS in years, tax agency official Holly Paz told investigators she was concerned when she learned that IRS employees were singling out groups with “Tea Party” and other key words in their names.

Jun 4, 2013

Watchdog faults IRS over Star Trek video, conference

By Kim Dixon and Kevin Drawbaugh

(Reuters) – A spoof Star Trek video and lavish hotel suites for government workers were singled out on Tuesday by a government watchdog in criticizing the U.S. Internal Revenue Service’s conference planning and budgeting from 2010 through 2012.

In a report that the IRS has already acknowledged as pointing out “inappropriate” spending, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) faulted the agency specifically for a 2010 conference in Anaheim, California, that cost $4.1 million.

May 30, 2013

Insight: How U.S. Treasury’s tax loophole mistake saves companies billions each year

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – As the U.S. economy crumbled in early 2009, President Barack Obama offered a plan that he said would save American jobs: a crackdown on corporate tax loopholes that encourage companies to send profits abroad to avoid paying billions of dollars in U.S. taxes each year.

Tax lobbyist Ken Kies was not worried. A decade earlier, he had led a fight to preserve a key loophole – known in Treasury Department shorthand as the “check the box” rule – when another Democratic president, Bill Clinton, had tried to kill it.