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Apr 22, 2014

IRS’s summons power faces test in Supreme Court

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Internal Revenue Service will go before the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday to defend the way it enforces its power to issue legal summonses to obtain sensitive documents from taxpayers who refuse to cooperate with audits.

The IRS is squaring off against Michael Clarke, a West Palm Beach, Florida, investor who is arguing that the U.S. tax agency in 2011 improperly issued a summons “as retribution” against him and his business partners for resisting an audit.

Apr 17, 2014

No U.S. IRS audits for most big financial partnerships: report

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Fewer than 1 percent of partnerships with more than $100 million in assets, including hedge funds and private equity firms, are audited by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, a government report said on Thursday.

Despite a surge in the number of partnerships over the last decade, the IRS did not conduct field audits for 99 percent of these tax-favored businesses from 2007 through 2012, said the preliminary report from the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress.

Apr 16, 2014

China denies U.S. warning of undervalued currency

BEIJING/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – China rejected on Wednesday a warning from the Obama administration that its currency was too weak, urging the United States to recognize that China aims to “perfect and regulate” the exchange rate system.

The Obama administration on Tuesday warned China that its currency was too weak and expressed doubt over the Asian giant’s resolve to let market forces guide the value of the yuan.

Apr 15, 2014

U.S. warns China its currency is still undervalued

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Obama administration on Tuesday warned Beijing that it is concerned about the recent drop in China’s currency, calling it “significantly undervalued” and saying it is watching the value of the yuan closely.

In a semiannual report to Congress, the U.S. Treasury stopped short of declaring China a currency manipulator, but singled it out among large U.S. trading partners for its currency practices.

Apr 14, 2014

Higher 2013 U.S. taxes surprise some investors, tax preparers say

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – For wealthy U.S. investors who have not been paying attention, their 2013 tax returns, which must be filed by Tuesday, may contain a rude surprise: higher taxes.

With the deadline for filing hours away, tax professionals across the country said some clients have been surprised to learn the Internal Revenue Service was taking a larger bite.

Apr 10, 2014

House panel holds ex-IRS officer in contempt

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. House of Representatives panel voted 21-12 along party lines on Thursday to hold a former Internal Revenue Service officer in contempt of Congress over her role in a 2013 controversy involving IRS targeting of conservative political groups.

Lois Lerner, former head of the IRS tax-exempt division, twice exercised her constitutional right not to testify about the affair before the Republican-controlled House Oversight and Government Reform Committee at public hearings on Capitol Hill.

Apr 9, 2014

House panel urges prosecution for ex-IRS official in Tea Party case

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. House of Representatives committee has asked the Justice Department to consider criminal prosecution for a former U.S. Internal Revenue Service official who played a key role in last year’s Tea Party scandal at the IRS.

By a vote of 23-14 along party lines, the Republican-led Ways and Means Committee voted to refer Lois Lerner to the Justice Department for criminal prosecution. The request was submitted in a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder.

Apr 8, 2014

Untaxed U.S. corporate profits held overseas top $2.1 trln -study

WASHINGTON, April 8 (Reuters) – Foreign profits held
overseas by U.S. corporations to avoid taxes at home nearly
doubled from 2008 to 2013 to top $2.1 trillion, said a private
research firm’s report, prompting a call for reform by the
Senate’s top tax law writer.

“The new numbers … certainly highlight what is one of the
key challenges for tax reform. I do think there need to be some
reforms in this area,” Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron
Wyden told reporters on Tuesday on Capitol Hill.

Apr 8, 2014

IRS puts damper on newer types of energy partnerships

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK, April 8 (Reuters) – The Internal
Revenue Service has temporarily stopped issuing private letter
rulings (PLRs) that energy companies sometimes request when
setting up master limited partnerships for their tax benefits.

Lawyers specializing in the oil and gas sector have said the
IRS wants to review the scope of assets that can qualify as
tax-free for master limited partnerships (MLPs), which have
lured hundreds of billions of dollars from investors seeking
high yields.

Apr 8, 2014

IRS asks U.S. lawmakers for ‘OK’ to police tax preparers

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Internal Revenue Service asked Congress on Tuesday for legal authority to regulate thousands of unlicensed tax return preparers, but lawmakers were neutral on the idea.

“I will have to talk with my colleagues to see what’s doable,” said Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, a Democrat, after gaveling an end to a hearing on the issue.