WASHINGTON (Reuters) – More than 1,000 Tea Party activists protested in Washington on Wednesday over the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative political groups seeking tax-exempt status.
Demonstrators on Capitol Hill waved signs denouncing taxes, immigration reform and gun control – staple issues for the conservative movement – in one of their largest gatherings since Democratic President Barack Obama was re-elected in November.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – More than a dozen FBI agents are assigned to a criminal probe into Internal Revenue Service scrutiny of conservative political groups, FBI Director Robert Mueller said on Wednesday.
“It’s a high-priority investigation and it needs to be handled with care, but it also needs to be pushed aggressively,” he told the Senate Judiciary Committee at a hearing.
WASHINGTON/CINCINNATI (Reuters) – A current and a former top tax official have been physically threatened in recent weeks as the scandal over Internal Revenue Service targeting of Tea Party and other conservative groups has gathered steam, people familiar with their situation say.
Ousted IRS acting commissioner, Steven Miller, has received such threats, according to a source familiar with his situation. The source declined to elaborate on the nature or the source of the threats.
* IRS puts brakes on corporate push to capture real-estate tax break. A.D. Pruitt and Amol Sharma – The Wall Street Journal. The Internal Revenue Service is stepping up its scrutiny of companies that are looking to avoid some corporate taxes by converting their operations into real-estate investment trusts. Link
* Obama urged to back plan to list owners of shell firms. Ravi Somaiya – The New York Times. Anticorruption activists have urged President Obama to back a plan to publicly register the owners of shell companies in the United States and around the world, a move they say is essential to thwart corrupt government officials, tax evaders and money launderers who rely on an opaque financial system. Link
WASHINGTON, June 7 (Reuters) – The U.S. Internal Revenue
Service, under political fire and distracted by leadership
changes, faces a big job and tight deadlines in months ahead as
one of the main federal agencies implementing President Barack
Obama’s new healthcare law.
More than 40 tax code changes were part of 2010’s Affordable
Care Act (ACA), the president’s signature domestic policy
achievement. Some changes are already in place, but several take
effect in January 2014 and the IRS is still figuring them out.
* 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
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.
Essential reading: IRS staff say Washington officials helped direct the probe of tea-party groups, and more
* 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
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.
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.