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Oct 29, 2013

U.S. Treasury gives more detail on offshore anti-tax evasion law

WASHINGTON, Oct 29 (Reuters) – Foreign banks and investment
funds got more detail from the Treasury Department on Tuesday
about how to comply with a new U.S. anti-tax evasion law,
including a draft agreement that some institutions must sign to
avoid possible penalties.

The new details underscore the importance of certain
bilateral agreements Treasury officials are negotiating with
dozens of countries to implement the Foreign Account Tax
Compliance Act (FATCA), set to take effect in July 2014.

Oct 22, 2013

U.S. 2014 tax-filing season delayed up to two weeks: IRS

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The start of the 2014 tax filing season will be postponed by a week or two next year, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) said on Tuesday, likely delaying some tax refunds, as well.

Complications from the 16-day federal government shutdown are the cause, the IRS said, with the 2014 tax season now slated to start between January 28 and February 4, rather than on January 21.

Oct 21, 2013

States’ online ‘Amazon tax’ fight may land in U.S. Supreme Court: lawyers

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Diverging high court rulings in New York and Illinois over ‘Amazon taxes’ point to a possible U.S. Supreme Court case to settle questions about the legality of states taxing online retail sales, lawyers said on Monday.

With Congress failing to take action on the issue, courts have been intervening case-by-case in a long-running struggle between state governments and major online retailers, including Amazon.com Inc, over sales tax.

Oct 18, 2013

Spanish bank gets partial win in STARS tax shelter fight

WASHINGTON, Oct 18 (Reuters) – Banco Santander won
a partial victory in a $234 million tax refund fight with the
U.S. Internal Revenue Service over controversial tax shelters
known as STARS when a Massachusetts district court ruled in
favor of the Spanish bank.

In several cases against banks with hundreds of millions of
dollars at stake, the IRS is arguing that STARS lacked “economic
substance,” citing a key doctrine used by the agency to combat
activities it sees as designed chiefly to dodge taxes.

Oct 17, 2013

Wisconsin adds sales tax to Amazon.com shopping cart

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Wisconsin next month will become the 14th U.S. state to begin collecting sales tax on online purchases through Amazon.com Inc, joining a trend toward squeezing more revenue from e-commerce.

Effective November 1, the Midwestern state said sales tax will be added by Amazon to purchases made by Wisconsin residents because the online retailer is opening a distribution center in Kenosha, giving it a physical presence in the state.

Oct 14, 2013

U.S. multinationals to have say on OECD tax-base erosion project

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. multinationals will next month be able to weigh in for the first time on recent proposals from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) on tightening oversight of tax-reducing “transfer pricing” strategies.

These financial strategies, involving how multinationals value and price assets they move around the globe from one unit to another, have been criticized by tax fairness advocates and the OECD, a Paris-based club of rich countries.

Oct 9, 2013

Tax penalty for two Texans? Supreme Court weighs partner problem

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday grappled with a case about a steep penalty the Internal Revenue Service imposed on two Texas businessmen over a sham tax shelter, with legal arguments centered on whether their partnership shielded them or not.

The case involves Billy Joe “Red” McCombs, a Texas billionaire and former owner of the Minnesota Vikings football team, and his business partner Gary Woods.

Oct 8, 2013

Congressional panel to review U.S. IRS progress on healthcare law

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Internal Revenue Service executive in charge of enforcing President Barack Obama’s new healthcare law will be the lone witness on Wednesday before a congressional panel run by Republicans resolutely opposed to the law.

As if that were not daunting enough, Sarah Hall Ingram also likely will be questioned by Republicans about her previous IRS job. She headed the IRS tax-exempt division at the time it started subjecting conservative groups allied with the Tea Party movement to extra scrutiny.

Oct 8, 2013

U.S. Supreme Court to weigh penalty on sham tax shelter

WASHINGTON, Oct 8 (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on
Wednesday will hear arguments about whether the Internal Revenue
Service can slap a 40 percent penalty on certain financial
transactions in a case involving a tax shelter used by a Texas
billionaire.

The shelter itself – known as a “current options bring
reward alternatives,” or COBRA – is not in dispute, only the
IRS’s attempt to collect the penalty. Lower courts have ruled
COBRA shelters are a sham meant solely to avoid taxes.

Oct 4, 2013

Shutdown halts rebates on Build America Bonds, dents appeal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The inability of the U.S. Treasury to send Build America Bond payments to state and local governments during the federal government shutdown is the latest blow to hopes these securities might grow into an alternative to tax-exempt municipal bonds.

Taxable Build America Bonds, created in the 2009 economic stimulus plan, pay issuers federal rebates equal to 35 percent of the bonds’ interest costs. The rebates were so attractive that state and local governments rushed to sell $181 billion BABs in the 20 months of the program’s existence.