Patrick's Feed
Jun 7, 2013
via Tax Break

Essential reading: Despite tax rules, companies stick with U.S., and more

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Welcome to the top tax and accounting headlines.

 * Despite tax rules, companies stick with U.S. Victor Fleischer – The New York Times. The tactics that multinational companies like Apple, Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard use to avoid paying corporate income taxes might make one wonder why they incorporate in the United States in the first place. Link  

* Ray Lane signs deal to pay $100 million tax bill. Shira Ovide and Yuliya Chernova – The Wall Street Journal. Ray Lane, the prominent technology investor and former chairman of Hewlett-Packard Co., is facing a tax bill of up to $100 million stemming from his investments during the dotcom-boom era. Link  

Jun 7, 2013

Misfired 2010 email alerted IRS officials in Washington of targeting

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A misfired email from a U.S. Internal Revenue Service employee in Cincinnati alerted a number of Washington IRS officials that extra scrutiny was being place on conservative groups in July 2010, a year earlier than previously acknowledged, according to interviews with IRS workers by congressional investigators.

Transcripts of the interviews, reviewed by Reuters on Thursday, provided new details about Washington managers’ awareness of the heightened scrutiny applied by front-line IRS agents in Cincinnati to applications for tax-exempt status from conservative groups with words like “Tea Party” in their names.

Jun 6, 2013
via Tax Break

Essential reading: IRS staff say Washington officials helped direct the probe of tea-party groups, and more

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Welcome to the top tax and accounting headlines.

* IRS staff cite Washington link. John McKinnon and Dionne Searcey – The Wall Street Journal. Two Internal Revenue Service employees in the agency’s Cincinnati office told congressional investigators that IRS officials in Washington helped direct the probe of tea-party groups that began in 2010. Link

* Corporate taxes don’t cause recessions. But do they hurt growth? Dylan Matthews – The Washington Post. It’s hard to look at the body of research on this topic and not notice that there’s something of a consensus around the idea that increases in the corporate tax rate hurt growth and cuts to it help growth. Link

Jun 6, 2013

IRS official in Star Trek spoof apologizes for lavish conference

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A top official at the U.S. Internal Revenue Service on Thursday acknowledged that it was “embarrassing” how much the tax agency spent on training videos, including a Star Trek spoof, and other lavish expenses during a 2010 conference in California.

Faris Fink, commissioner of the agency’s small business and self-employed division, told lawmakers the videos, which cost more than $50,000 to produce, were well-intentioned but in hindsight inappropriate.

Jun 5, 2013

IRS suspends two employees for taking conference gifts

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Internal Revenue Service has suspended two employees – including one working on President Barack Obama’s healthcare initiative – for improperly accepting gifts at an agency conference, two congressional staff members briefed on the matter told Reuters on Wednesday.

The tax-collecting agency – already battling a political scandal and accusations of lavish spending – has begun a process to remove the two employees for violating ethics rules pending a review, the IRS said.

Jun 5, 2013

IRS puts two employees on leave for taking conference gifts

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Internal Revenue Service, already battling political scandal and accusations of lavish spending, has put two employees on administrative leave for accepting gifts of food and other items at an agency conference, according to two congressional staff members briefed on the matter.

Acting IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel said in a statement: “There was clearly inappropriate behavior involved in this situation, and immediate action is needed.”

Jun 5, 2013
via Tax Break

Essential reading: Calculating Apple’s true U.S. tax rate, and more

Welcome to the top tax and accounting headlines.

 * Calculating Apple’s true U.S. tax rate. Victor Fleischer – The New York Times. One lesson from the Senate hearing about Apple’s offshore tax planning is that figuring out what a multinational company actually pays in taxes is harder than it should be. Link    

* Conservatives’ top five grievances against the IRS. Juliet Eilperin – The Washington Post. The House Ways and Means Committee hearing Tuesday has offered leaders of conservative groups a chance to detail their biggest grievances against the Internal Revenue Service. Link   

Jun 4, 2013

Blocked treaties a concern ahead of tax evasion law -US Treasury

WASHINGTON, June 4 (Reuters) – A lone Republican lawmaker
blocking Senate votes on several tax treaties is a concern, but
won’t stop a new anti-tax evasion law from taking effect in
2014, a U.S. Treasury Department official said on Tuesday.

Republican Senator Rand Paul’s hold on the treaties “is a
concern” isolated to “a few agreements” with foreign
governments, said Jesse Eggert, associate international tax
counsel at Treasury, at a conference.

Jun 4, 2013
via Tax Break

Essential reading: IRS scandal prompts hope for tax reform, and more

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Welcome to the top tax and accounting headlines from Reuters and other sources.

* Some Republicans see IRS troubles as means to a big goal: tax overhaul. Jonathan Weisman – The New York Times. For Congressman Dave Camp, spotlighting the tax-collecting agency — and stoking voter antipathy for it — are ways to build momentum for his plan to rewrite and simplify the entire tax code, a goal he has set for the end of the year. Link 

 * New business group ACT pushes tax overhaul. John McKinnon – The Wall Street Journal. A group of 42 U.S. companies is announcing a potentially powerful new coalition on Tuesday to push for a comprehensive tax overhaul. The group – representing a broad cross-section of both multinational and domestic-focused big businesses – could give a boost to the slow-moving effort on Capitol Hill. Link    

Jun 3, 2013

Insight: IRS has long history of burying non-profits in paperwork

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Internal Revenue Service staff have a long history of discouraging applications for tax-exempt status from controversial groups by burying them in complicated questionnaires, according to former IRS officials. Among other reasons, they said, the tactic was sometimes used to persuade groups to drop their applications so the IRS could avoid making a ruling.

This approach – allegedly used in the recent IRS targeting of Tea Party and other conservative groups – has been around for decades, the officials said, citing lengthy questionnaires sent to applicants including religious and gay-rights organizations and a children’s summer camp group that promotes atheist thinking.