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Aug 27, 2013

IRS issues final rules on Obamacare’s ‘individual mandate’

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Internal Revenue Service issued final rules on Tuesday for the individual mandate of President Barack Obama’s healthcare overhaul, one of the most contentious elements of the U.S. law set to go into effect next year.

A centerpiece of Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, is a requirement that all individuals carry some minimum health insurance or pay a tax. The new system aims to provide insurance through state marketplaces and subsidies for tens of millions of Americans who lack it.

Aug 23, 2013

U.S. agency says Michael Jackson estate owes $702 million in taxes

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The estate of pop music legend Michael Jackson owes $702 million in federal taxes and penalties, the Internal Revenue Service charged in U.S. Tax Court, accusing the estate of undervaluing some of the star’s assets by hundreds of millions of dollars.

The dollar amounts in dispute had not been previously disclosed in the court challenge that the Jackson estate filed in July to a bill from the IRS, the U.S. tax-collecting agency.

Aug 21, 2013

Liberal groups sue IRS to stop campaign spending by tax-exempts

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Advocates for campaign finance transparency sued the Internal Revenue Service on Wednesday to force it to deny tax-exempt status to groups spending funds on political activities, launching a legal case that tax lawyers said faced long odds.

Ahead of the 2012 elections, liberal and conservative tax-exempt groups raised hundreds of millions of dollars from anonymous corporate and individual donors, then spent the money on political advocacy, usually negative television ads.

Aug 20, 2013

Michael Jackson estate fights U.S. IRS in Tax Court

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The estate of pop music legend Michael Jackson is fighting the Internal Revenue Service over taxes and penalties levied on a wide range of the star’s assets, including the Neverland Ranch, his “image and likeness” and some recording properties, according to court documents.

The estate’s challenge, filed in U.S. Tax Court, does not disclose any dollar amounts, suggesting the differences in estate taxes paid and allegedly owed could be significant, said tax lawyers who reviewed the court filings on Tuesday.

Aug 16, 2013

Import tax overhaul bill coming, would help U.S. seaports

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. import tax collected only at shipping ports would be converted into a fee on goods brought into the United States by rail and highway from Canada and Mexico under legislation expected to be introduced next month in the U.S. Senate.

The two senators from Washington State said on Thursday that they will offer the bill to repeal the harbor maintenance tax and impose a new road-and-rail import tax, a move that would benefit seaports such as Seattle and Tacoma in their state.

Aug 14, 2013

Cayman Islands, U.S. reach pact to fight tax evasion

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States has cut a deal with the Cayman Islands that will smooth implementation in the Caribbean island nation of a new U.S. anti-tax evasion law, while pressuring other low-tax and no-tax countries to follow suit.

Criticized by President Barack Obama and others as a tax haven, the Cayman Islands said it has agreed to cooperate with the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), enacted in 2010 and set to take effect in July 2014.

Aug 13, 2013

U.S. Republicans keep pressure on IRS in ‘Tea Party’ case

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Two Republican lawmakers on Tuesday demanded that an Internal Revenue Service official who triggered investigations into the tax agency’s scrutiny of conservative political groups turn over personal emails.

Lois Lerner, former head of the IRS tax-exempt division, apologized in May for the extra review given to Tea Party and other conservative groups seeking exemptions under a section of the tax code that allows limited political activity.

Aug 11, 2013

Banks test U.S. IRS anti-tax shelter weapon in STARS wars

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A sharp tool in the U.S. government’s fight against corporate tax shelters will be put to the test in the months ahead as the Internal Revenue Service grapples with four major banks over structured transactions done a decade ago with Barclays Plc.

The IRS contends the transactions, known as STARS deals, were designed purely to facilitate tax dodging. The banks say the deals were done to enhance their core businesses and are challenging the IRS over hefty tax bills it has imposed.

Aug 7, 2013

IRS takes on Tyco in U.S. Tax Court debt-vs-equity dispute

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. Tax Court fight between Tyco International Ltd and the Internal Revenue Service reflects a growing assertiveness by the agency over deductibility of interest in certain intercompany financing deals, tax lawyers said on Wednesday.

Tyco (TYC.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) is challenging a $1 billion tax bill assessed by the IRS based on its view that cash transfers carried out within the multinational company were not debt payments, but taxable dividends, according to U.S. Tax Court documents.

Aug 6, 2013

Tax rules could force Bezos to play active role at Washington Post

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – If tax considerations played a role in Jeff Bezos’ $250 million purchase of The Washington Post, he may need to reconsider his hands-off approach if he hopes to offset gains from other ventures with losses at the newspaper.

In announcing the deal on Monday, the 49-year-old multibillionaire founder and chief executive of Seattle-based Amazon.com Inc told Post staff in an open letter: “I won’t be leading The Washington Post day-to-day.”