* Falling deficit alters debate. Damian Palleta – The Wall Street Journal. Rising government revenue from tax collections and bailout paybacks are shrinking the federal deficit faster than expected, delaying the point when the government will reach the so-called debt ceiling and altering the budget debate in Washington. Link
* Who would win or lose on online sales tax. Jayne O’Donnell and Hadley Malcolm – USA Today. Major retailers and local stores will be the big winners if the House follows the Senate and requires Internet retailers to collect sales taxes on online purchases. Link
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Tax auditors inappropriately targeted applications from conservative political groups seeking tax-exempt status, an Internal Revenue Service official acknowledged on Friday.
Lois Lerner, director of the IRS tax-exempt office, said the practice was “was absolutely incorrect and it was inappropriate.”
LONDON/WASHINGTON, May 9 (Reuters) – A joint effort by
Britain, the United States and Australia to track down people
who conceal wealth in offshore tax structures has helped
identify more than 100 individuals, the UK’s tax authority said
“The message is simple: if you evade tax, we’re coming after
you,” said Britain’s Finance Minister George Osborne.
* Swiss bank tied to indictment ponders U.S. registration -sources. John Letzing – The Wall Street Journal. A Swiss private bank that recently suspended an executive who allegedly helped U.S. taxpayers evade obligations is considering opening a U.S. branch, two people familiar with the matter said Wednesday, a step intended to help it comply with U.S. regulations. Link
* Tax collections from wealthy are saving government. Robert Frank – CNBC. Call it proof that the system is working—or proof that the system is broken—but taxes paid by the nation’s top earners are putting government back in the black. Link
WASHINGTON, May 8 (Reuters) – Anti-tax advocates on
Wednesday applauded an effort by Senator Rand Paul to roll back
important sections of a U.S. law designed to fight tax evasion
by Americans with assets stored overseas.
In a move tax experts said would effectively gut the Foreign
Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), Paul has proposed stripping
FATCA of key enforcement and information reporting requirements.
WASHINGTON, May 7 (Reuters) – U.S. Senator Rand Paul
introduced a bill late on Tuesday that would repeal parts of a
2010 law designed to fight offshore tax evasion by Americans
with assets hidden in foreign banks.
The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) is being
implemented worldwide through a series of agreements between the
U.S. government and other governments and foreign banks.
* Tax proposals open a debate on airline industry’s troubles. Susan Stellin – The New York Times. A $300 domestic airline ticket now includes about $60 in taxes — or 20 percent of the total fare — which pays for things like air traffic controllers, airport improvements, customs and immigration inspections and checkpoint screening. Link
* Indefinitely reinvested foreign earnings on the rise. Maxwell Murphy – The Wall Street Journal. Foreign profits at U.S.-based multinational companies will soon top $2 trillion. But much of that sum is unlikely to return to the U.S., regardless of the status of U.S. tax rules, as it already has been spent abroad. Link
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Senate voted overwhelmingly on Monday to give states the power to enforce their sales tax laws on online purchases, but the legislation faces a tougher fight in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.
The Democratic-controlled Senate voted 69 to 27 to back the measure, which pits brick-and-mortar stores like Wal-Mart Stores Inc and cash-hungry state governments against such Web retailers as eBay Inc and Republicans wary of new tax measures.
WASHINGTON, May 6 (Reuters) – The U.S. Senate voted
overwhelmingly on Monday to give states the power to enforce
their sales tax laws on online purchases, but the legislation
faces a tougher fight in the Republican-controlled House of
The Democratic-controlled Senate voted 69 to 27 to back the
measure, which pits brick-and-mortar stores like Wal-Mart Stores
Inc and cash-hungry state governments against such Web
retailers as eBay Inc and Republicans wary of new tax measures.
* Tax rewrite in play on Capitol. John McKinnon – The Wall Street Journal. Talk about overhauling the tax code is picking up across Capitol Hill this spring, with lawmakers of both parties agreeing on the need to simplify the system but remaining far apart on the details of how to do it. Link
* In Commerce pick’s ’08 answers on finances, possible hints at road ahead. Charles Savage – The New York Times. Republican senators are likely to be interested in the Pritzker family’s reputation as innovators in the use of offshore trusts and foreign bank secrecy laws to shelter their wealth from income, capital gains and inheritance taxes. Link