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Sep 1, 2013

Building case for lawmakers, U.S. says sarin gas used in Syria attack

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Sunday tests showed that sarin nerve gas was used in a deadly August 21 chemical attack near Damascus as he sought to build the case to convince skeptical lawmakers to authorize a military strike against the Syrian government.

Kerry made the disclosure in a series of television interviews a day after President Barack Obama delayed imminent military action in Syria to seek approval first from the U.S. Congress – a decision that puts any strike on hold for at least nine days.

Aug 30, 2013

U.S., Switzerland strike bank deal over tax evasion

WASHINGTON/BERN, Aug 30 (Reuters) – The United States and
Switzerland have struck a deal to allow some Swiss banks to pay
fines to avoid or defer prosecution over tax evasion by their
U.S. customers, moving closer towards ending a long-running
dispute.

The deal will apply to about 100 second-tier Swiss banks,
which could have to disclose some previously hidden information
and face penalties of up to 50 percent of assets they managed on
behalf of wealthy Americans.

Aug 29, 2013

U.S., Switzerland forge bank settlement deal amid tax probe

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Justice Department said on Thursday it had signed an agreement with the Swiss government to allow some Swiss banks to avoid or defer prosecution stemming from a long-running probe of tax dodging by Americans using Swiss bank accounts.

The settlement program, which government officials said on Wednesday was nearly finalized, will apply mostly to second-tier Swiss banks and will be open only to banks not already under U.S. criminal investigation.

Aug 28, 2013

Heir to fortune hidden in Switzerland pleads guilty to U.S. tax fraud

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – An heir to a wealthy New York investment manager’s fortune has pleaded guilty to conspiring with family members to hide more than $12 million from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service in Swiss bank accounts, federal prosecutors said on Wednesday.

Henry Seggerman, 60, and his five siblings inherited about $24 million from their father, Harry Seggerman, who died in May 2001, according to court documents released by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

Aug 28, 2013

U.S., some Swiss banks near tax probe deal -Justice Dept

WASHINGTON/ZURICH, Aug 28 (Reuters) – The U.S. government
expects to announce within days a program that would allow some
Swiss banks to avoid or defer prosecution under a probe of
offshore tax dodging by Americans, a senior Justice Department
official said on Wednesday.

The program would exclude the 14 Swiss banks that are
already under investigation, the Justice official told reporters
on a conference call, which followed reports out of Switzerland
that the government there was ready to end the long-running
dispute.

Aug 27, 2013

IRS wins tax-shelter court case, harsh penalties can apply

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. tax authorities can assess penalties broadly on taxpayers using tax shelters, an appeals court said on Tuesday, in a decision that could influence a similar case set for oral arguments at the U.S. Supreme Court in October.

With a long winning streak on tax-shelter court cases, the IRS has been proving that the financial transactions in dispute lack “economic substance”, meaning they existed solely to generate tax breaks. Still unsettled – and an issue the high court will review – is whether the IRS can also add penalties in addition to the original tax bill.

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.