WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Advancing a U.S. crackdown on tax evasion by Americans, the U.S. Treasury Department said on Thursday that Switzerland and the United States have signed a pact to make Swiss banks disclose more information about U.S. account holders.
The agreement is the latest in a series between the United States and other countries designed to carry out the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, or FATCA, enacted in 2010.
* Happy Valentine’s Day? Check your taxes first. Laura Saunders – The Wall Street Journal. Being married raises taxes for some couples and lowers them for others. The marriage penalty is especially pronounced for couples earning above $300,000. Link
* U.S. slams EU’s tax-on-trades plan. Gabriele Steinhauser and Jenny Strausburg – The Wall Street Journal. The U.S. Treasury said it opposes plans by 11 European Union countries to impose a small tax on trades in shares, bonds and derivatives. Link
Welcome to the top tax and accounting headlines from Reuters and other sources.
* Vital city revenue, lost in the fine print. Jim Dwyer – The New York Times. Madison Square Garden received a tax exemption on its property in 1982 as long as the Knicks and the Rangers agreed to play there for 10 years. Madison Square Garden pays no property tax today either, 31 years later. Link
* Navigating between tax avoidance and evasion. Paul Sullivan – The New York Times. It is fairly difficult to evade taxes on legitimate investments because the I.R.S. can crosscheck the forms supplied by the company and the individual. Where people run afoul of the law is when they cut corners. Link
* Tax help comes with health insurance advice. Chad Terhune – The Los Angeles Times. As tax season kicks into high gear across the country, millions of Americans are getting their first taste of the biggest change to health insurance in nearly half a century. Link
* After the hurricane, a mound of tax math. Charles DeLafuentie – The New York Times. People who lost their homes or suffered extensive property damage in Hurricane Sandy may qualify for some help from the Internal Revenue Service, but with the usual caveats: the tax code isn’t simple, and not everybody will qualify. Link
* A doubly trying tax season for same-sex couples. Peter Applebome – The New York Times. For same-sex couples across the United States, an offshoot of being married is a dizzying set of complications in computing taxes. Link
* Higher payroll tax pinches those with the least to spare. Nelson Schwartz – The New York Times. At street level, the pain from the expiration of a two-percentage-point break in Social Security taxes in 2011 and 2012 is plain to see. Link
* Tax holiday ends, consumer scrimp. Neil Shah – The Wall Street Journal. Surveys show the majority of Americans who are aware of the tax increase say they plan to cut spending, and consumer confidence has wavered. Link
* A new Rx for tax bills. Jonathan Rockoff – The Wall Street Journal. Drug makers are taking new steps to lower their taxes significantly, in a boon to their bottom lines. Efforts typically involve shifting revenue overseas where it can be taxed at a lower rate than in the U.S. Link
* White House and business split over tax. Stephanie Kirchgaessner – The Financial Times. Tensions between the White House and business community have risen after President Barack Obama proposed tax hikes on oil and gas companies, as well as on hedge fund executives, in a short-term fix to avoid $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts. Link
* Obama repeats call to end tax break for corporate jets. Bart Jansen – USA Today. President Obama wants to stave off massive federal spending cuts scheduled March 1, but one of his suggestions to close tax breaks on corporate jets has upset that industry and Republican congressional leaders. Link
* Tactics for getting the IRS on the phone. Ann Carrns – The New York Times. Millions of people call the IRS each year. Last tax season, the average wait time to speak to a live representative was 17 minutes, up from 12 minutes in 2011, the Government Accountability Office found. Link
* James Tobin’s big idea is back, again. David Cottle – The Wall Street Journal. The European Commission wants to press ahead with an EU-wide tax on secondary-market bond, equity and derivatives transactions, which it called for in 2011. However, at present it seems that only 11 out of 17 euro-zone countries intend to apply the tax. Link
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Obama administration may soon ask Congress for the power to require more disclosure by U.S. banks of information about foreign clients’ accounts to those clients’ home governments, as part of a crackdown on tax evasion, sources said on Monday.
In a move facing resistance from some in the U.S. banking industry, two tax industry sources said the administration was considering asking Congress in an upcoming White House budget proposal for the authority to require more disclosure from U.S. banks.