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Jun 26, 2013

U.S. gay marriage ruling boosts benefits, but confusion expected

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Wednesday forcing the federal government to recognize same-sex marriage in states where it is legal will open up new benefits to thousands of gay couples, but confusion may reign in states that do not allow gay marriage.

At issue in the case were the estate taxes a New York lesbian widow owed upon her wife Thea Spyer’s death in 2009. Because they were gay, surviving spouse Edith Windsor missed out on a lucrative tax break – the exemption from the federal estate tax on wealth passed from one spouse to another.

Jun 26, 2013

Gay marriage ruling boosts benefits, but confusion expected

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Wednesday forcing the federal government to recognize same-sex marriage in states where it is legal will open up new benefits to thousands of gay couples, but confusion may reign in states that do not allow gay marriage.

At issue in the case were the estate taxes a New York lesbian widow owed upon her wife Thea Spyer’s death in 2009. Because they were gay, surviving spouse Edith Windsor missed out on a lucrative tax break – the exemption from the federal estate tax on wealth passed from one spouse to another.

Jun 26, 2013

IRS consumer group wants apology payments amid Tea Party fracas

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A watchdog inside the Internal Revenue Service, responding to charges of agency bias against Tea Party and other conservative groups, called on Wednesday for “apology payments” of up to $1,000 for those the agency subjects to excessive delays.

In its semi-annual report to Congress, the National Taxpayer Advocate said it largely agreed with recommendations for reform last month by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA).

Jun 24, 2013

IRS junks “lookout” lists at heart of Tea Party fracas

WASHINGTON, June 24 (Reuters) – The U.S. Internal Revenue
Service has scrapped controversial screening lists used by the
agency to scrutinize conservative and Tea Party groups seeking
tax-exempt status, while offering a speedier path for stalled
applications, the agency’s new chief said on Monday.

Use of the so-called “be on the lookout” lists (BOLO) using
partisan names like “Tea Party” and “Patriot” to flag
applications for more scrutiny were at the heart of a critical
report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax
Administration issued on May 14.

Jun 24, 2013

IRS scraps “be on the lookout” lists at heart of Tea Party fracas

WASHINGTON, June 24 (Reuters) – The U.S. Internal Revenue
Service has scrapped controversial screening lists used by the
agency to scrutinize conservative and Tea Party groups seeking
tax-exempt status, while offering a speedier path for stalled
applications, the agency’s new chief said on Monday.

Use of the so-called “be on the lookout” lists (BOLO) using
partisan names like “Tea Party” and “Patriot” to flag
applications for more scrutiny were at the heart of a critical
report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax
Administration issued on May 14.

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 14, 2013

Congress panel widens probe of IRS ‘Tea Party’ scrutiny

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Congressional investigators probing the U.S. Internal Revenue Service’s scrutiny of conservative political groups will interview a key Washington IRS official on Friday and want to speak with as many as 20 more people, sources told Reuters on Thursday.

IRS lawyer Carter Hull will be deposed by congressional lawyers on Friday, said sources close to the Republican-controlled House of Representatives committee taking the lead in an inquiry that involves several panels on Capitol Hill.

Jun 13, 2013

Lawmakers to interview Washington IRS official over Tea Party scrutiny

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A congressional committee probing the U.S. Internal Revenue Service’s heightened scrutiny of conservative groups plans to interview a Washington IRS official involved in overseeing Tea Party applications for tax-exempt status, sources told Reuters on Thursday.

Carter Hull, an IRS lawyer, will be interviewed this week, said a source close to the Republican-controlled House of Representatives committee taking the lead in various investigations of the matter.

Jun 13, 2013

Support grows for U.S. offshore corporate income tax cut: lawmaker

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Support from U.S.-based multinational companies is coalescing around a proposal to stem offshore profit shifting and cut the tax rate on some corporate profits, a top congressional Republican working to revamp the tax code said on Thursday.

Under the proposal, income from intangible assets such as patents and trademarks earned by U.S. companies abroad would face an immediate 15 percent tax rate. That would be well below the present 35 percent tax rate that can be deferred by leaving profits abroad. Companies would also get an immediate deduction for taxes paid.