Welcome to the top tax and accounting headlines from Reuters and other sources.
* Soaking the rich might not be a panacea. Vanessa Houlder – The Financial Times. The super rich are under fire across much of the developed world. U.S. President Barack Obama is on the road this week promoting the “Buffett rule”, a minimum tax on millionaires. In France, François Hollande is proposing a 75 per cent tax rate on the rich. In Britain, George Osborne, chancellor, has expressed shock at evidence showing the scale of tax planning by some of the wealthiest people in the country. Link
In the last three months,Avvo, a site where people from all over the United States can go for free answers to legal and medical questions, has seen a more than 200 percent climb in its tax-related questions. The area with the most tax questions was Los Angeles, but San Francisco and San Diego were also leaders in the area.
Josh King, a Seattle lawyer who’s also vice president of business development and general counsel for Avvo, said a lot of the California tax questions are property-related, the leftovers of that state’s real estate meltdown. Among them: the tax implication of short sales and foreclosures, as well as how to get property tax reassessed.
If you are writing a check to your state department of revenue or the IRS over the next few weeks, or are simply reminded by tax time just how much you send along to the government each year, you may well wonder where all that money is going.
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities put together two graphics which capture the highlights.
*U.S. regulator accuses RBC of massive trading scheme. Alexandra Alper – Reuters. The U.S. futures regulator accused the Royal Bank of Canada of running a “trading scheme of massive proportion” to gain lucrative Canadian tax benefits. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s civil lawsuit alleges RBC employees created and managed a “wash trading” strategy in which they improperly coordinated to buy and sell stock futures without taking a position in the market. RBC declined to comment on whether the trades in question were structured to realize Canadian tax credits, as alleged in the lawsuit. Link
ChinaCast shares some interesting traits with other recent Chinese accounting headline-grabbers: the company is structured as a variable interest entity (VIE), there is a dispute between its (now former) CEO and its auditor, and that auditor is Deloitte.
(Reuters) – The take-home pay of U.S. chief executives grew at least 10 percent in 2011, propelled largely by a stock market rally, according to consultants’ estimates.
The trend may carry over into 2012 if the market stays strong, with CEOs reaping the gains from low-priced stock options and restricted stock which they received in the darkest days of the 2007-2009 financial crisis and which are now vesting.
Sunday, April 1 – Tuesday, April 3 – Council of Institutional Investors annual meeting in Washington, D.C.. Speakers include Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman, SEC Commissioner Troy Paredes, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, and Chinese accounting critic Carson Block, among others.
Tuesday, April 3 –
The IRS will hold a hearing on the allocation of interest expense by companies with a significant investment in a partnership, or which use the fair market value method. Starts at 10 a.m. in the IRS Auditorium in Washington.
The Urban Institute is sponsoring a Washington event, also being webcast, entitled “Are There Too Many Nonprofits?”
Thursday, April 5 –