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May 10, 2013

Tax officials cite momentum, challenges in tax revamp

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Two U.S. policymakers from opposite ends of the political spectrum on Friday said momentum is building for a top-to-bottom revamp of the tax code, but the biggest question is whether there is political will to get it done.

Mark Mazur, assistant secretary for tax policy at the Treasury Department, and Mark Prater, a long-time Republican Senate tax counsel, cited major policy proposals and two years of public hearings and private meetings that have set the groundwork for the first rewrite of the code since 1986.

May 9, 2013

Lawmakers go online for grassroots push on U.S. tax reform

WASHINGTON, May 9 (Reuters) – The political goal is the same
as it was in the mid-1980s: grassroots support for an overhaul
of the U.S. tax code. But lawmakers’ approach this time is
thoroughly modern.

The chairmen of Congress’s tax-writing committees on
Thursday launched a website they hope will boost public support
for overhauling the tax code in the same way that a “Write
Rosty” letter-writing campaign did a quarter-century ago.

May 9, 2013

‘Click Camp’ replaces ‘Write Rosty’ in new U.S. tax revamp push

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The political goal is the same as it was in the mid-1980s – seed grass-roots support for an overhaul of the U.S. tax code – but the approach launched Thursday relies on email, not snail mail.

The chairmen of Congress’s tax-writing committees have unveiled a Web site they hope will boost public support for overhauling the tax code in the same way that a “Write Rosty” letter-writing campaign did a quarter-century ago.

May 7, 2013

Fight expected in House on online sales tax

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Senate voted overwhelmingly on Monday to give states the power to enforce their sales tax laws on online purchases, but the legislation faces a tougher fight in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

The Democratic-controlled Senate voted 69 to 27 to back the measure, which pits brick-and-mortar stores like Wal-Mart Stores Inc and cash-hungry state governments against such Web retailers as eBay Inc and Republicans wary of new tax measures.

May 6, 2013

Online sales tax clears U.S. Senate, fight seen in House

WASHINGTON, May 6 (Reuters) – The U.S. Senate voted
overwhelmingly on Monday to give states the power to enforce
their sales tax laws on online purchases, but the legislation
faces a tougher fight in the Republican-controlled House of
Representatives.

The Democratic-controlled Senate voted 69 to 27 to back the
measure, which pits brick-and-mortar stores like Wal-Mart Stores
Inc and cash-hungry state governments against such Web
retailers as eBay Inc and Republicans wary of new tax measures.

May 6, 2013

Special interests defend breaks in report on tax overhaul

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – “Tax the other guy, not me!” was the main message from a variety of special interest groups commenting on tax breaks in a report issued on Monday, underscoring the problems faced by the U.S. Congress as it considers a revamp of the tax code.

Republican Dave Camp, chairman of the powerful tax-writing Ways and Means panel in the U.S. House of Representatives, commissioned the report.

Apr 25, 2013

Senate bill on Web sales tax moves forward but support erodes

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Senate on Thursday voted to move forward with legislation that would allow states to force retailers to collect online sales taxes, though the measure lost supporters after opponents stepped up lobbying this week.

The bipartisan proposal cleared a procedural hurdle after 63 members in the 100-seat Senate backed it; the measure previously was held up by opponents. Critics largely cited potential burdens on small businesses, many in states that do not impose sales taxes.

Apr 25, 2013

Lawmakers, economists spar over “wasteful” U.S. mortgage tax break

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The popular U.S. tax deduction for mortgage interest is wasteful and does little to spur home ownership, economists from across the political spectrum said at a congressional hearing on Thursday, but many lawmakers mulling a tax code overhaul were having none of it.

Congress is scrutinizing many tax breaks, including the one enjoyed by about 40 million Americans – mainly middle-class voters – for the home mortgage interest they pay.

Apr 24, 2013

Before retirement, Sen. Baucus targets tax overhaul

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A day after announcing he will retire from Congress in 2014, Democrat Max Baucus said he will spend much of his remaining time as a senator stepping up his bid to revamp the complex U.S. tax code.

To speed up the process, Baucus said he is eyeing expiration of the federal government’s borrowing authority – coming in late July or early August – as a vehicle for this project, he said on Wednesday.

Apr 24, 2013

Starbucks, under fire in UK, seeks U.S. tax breaks

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Coffee chain Starbucks Corp (SBUX.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), which has faced criticism for its low tax rate in Britain, has sought new tax breaks in the United States in comments to a congressional committee.

As U.S. lawmakers move closer to possibly overhauling the tax code for the first time since 1986, scores of companies and interest groups have submitted comments to the tax law-writing Ways and Means Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives.